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Iowa is a wonderful state placed between rivers. Better known for its landscape of cornfields and rolling plains, Iowa sits between the iconic Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Its capital, Des Moines, includes incredible landmarks such as the gold-domed 19th-century State Capitol Building or the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette were the first European explorers to visit Iowa, arriving on the Mississippi River in 1673 and discovering several Native American towns. Until 1763, when the French were defeated in the Indian and French War, the region was claimed by the French and consequently formed part of their empire.
The region was given to Spain by the French, who offered commercial privileges to both British and French businessmen. The state later formed part of Spanish Louisiana until the U.S bought the state of Louisiana, and locals started an agricultural economy based in what is now known as the Corn Belt.
Grotto of the Redemption
The Grotto of The Redemption is a religious shrine located in West Bend, Iowa. The shrine contains nine caves that portray the life of the Christian God, Jesus Christ, and has the biggest collection of petrifications and minerals in the entire world. It’s the biggest grotto on Earth and has a wide collection of shells, minerals, and fossils inside. More than 100,000 people visit the shrine each year, and you can even see different precious and semiprecious stones from there.
Iowa River Valley
Iowa is regarded as one of the foremost agricultural states in the country, with beautiful landscapes. While the River Valley Lodge and Campground near Farmington is recommended for those looking for someplace more developed, the Iowa River Valley is undoubtedly the greatest site in the state to appreciate its untouched, natural splendor.
Pikes Peak State Park
Pikes Peak State Park, one of Iowa's most popular tourist destinations, is an essential stop for anybody who wishes to explore the state's rich natural, cultural, and historical treasures. The highest point in the park offers magnificent views of the Mississippi River, and the strenuous ascent is well worth it for the beautiful sight.
Black Hawk Bridge
Black Hawk Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River from Iowa to Wisconsin, is also known as the Lansing Bridge. The bridge, which was built in 1931 and has one of the most unique designs of any Mississippi River bridge, is a magnificent example of engineering.
Iowa is known for being the leading producer of corn in the world. Over 99% of the corn that is produced here is used as corn syrup, corn oil, corn starch, and corn cereal. The kind of corn that is produced in Iowa is called field corn, which is yellow corn that is commonly harvested during the fall and forms different dents on the kernel when it dries up.
The Hawkeye State
Iowa has commonly been nicknamed the Hawkeye State due to the newspaper publisher James Edwards and Judge David, who changed the name of the local’s newspaper to “Hawk-Eye and Iowa-Patriot”. This was done to honor the Sauk leader, who was known as Chief Black Hawk. The name was approved by the territorial officers in the year 1838.
The Original Sliced Bread
Do you know who invented sliced bread? Iowan Otto Rohwedder designed a device that would slice and wrap bread back in 1927. His first machine was sold to Frank Bench, an owner of a baking company in Missouri, and later, in 1928, the first sliced bread was sold. Nowadays, sliced bread is one of the most demanded food products on the shelves.
Iowa State Fair
U.S. Fairs are quite common, but The Iowa State Fair is considered one of the biggest and most famous state fairs in the country. Every August, the event is held in different cities in Iowa like Burlington, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Muscatine, and Oskaloosa. Since its first appearance in 1854, the fair has been filled with vendors and carnival rides, contests, competitions, and animal activities until today!