Recent Stories

A log raft passing a drawbridge on the Mississippi River, 1898.

Iowa History: World’s Only Female Boat Captain

“I can’t resist the desire to be on the steamer. It is positively fascinating this life and grows upon me.” The words of Ida Moore Lachmund of Clinton, Iowa, were shocking in 1897. She was talking about her life as a river boat captain on the Mississippi River. It wasn’t a typical career for women at the time. Ida Moore Patterson was born and educated in Philadelphia.

Students hold signs at a Bernie Sanders rally in Iowa City on Jan. 30, 2016. Sanders eventually lost his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination but young people supporting him now have a chance to have their voice heard as first-time presidential election voters in fall 2016.

First-Time Voters Eager For Say In Presidential Election

The chance to have a voice in who the next U.S. president is and fighting for what is right, watching a new generation make a difference and even watching as states change to either red or blue are some of the many reasons young first-time voters are ready to take part in the 2016 presidential election.

Marquis of Lorne was governor general of Ottawa, Canada

When Cattle Derailed A Queen’s Son-In-Law In Iowa

“Is there danger?” Marquis of Lorne demanded of his servants.

“We’re slaughtered!” he predicted.

The Marquis of Lorne believed he was being attacked by Irish Republican anti-British government agitators as he rode the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad in October 1881.

2015 IBNA Awards given to IowaWatch on April 23, 2016.

View Our 2016 Annual Report and 990 Tax Return for 2015

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs released on Sept. 29, 2016, an annual report that shows accomplishment of the nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization in the past year. You may read it and our 990 tax return here.

Army mule photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Big Test In Iowa, Wisconsin When The “Automobile Truck” Threatened Army Mules

Dubuque was bustling with activity and excitement early in the summer of 1912. U.S. Army battalions from four states were arriving in June. About 2,000 men would camp south of the city after traveling from Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska and Illinois. The soldiers were going to be testing some new equipment for the war department. City leaders hoped the soldiers would perform their drills and maneuvers in an exhibition for the public.

German prisoners held at Vaux, France, 1918

Iowa History: The Deadliest Weapon in the World

On the lawn of a “beautiful old chateau” on the banks of the Marne River in France in July 1918 during the Great War (World War I) a commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces pinned Distinguished Service Crosses to the chests of 37 marines for their “extraordinary heroism.” One of them was an Iowan, John J. Ingalls of Maquoketa. (Some sources indicate Ingalls’ address was Olin when he joined the marines, others Maquoketa.)

Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager. She is the author of four non-fiction books for young people. Double Victory was featured on C-SPAN’s “Book TV” and The Industrial Revolution for Kids was selected for “Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.” Her most recent book, Women in Blue traces the evolution of women in policing.