History

Iowa Public Radio / Clay Masters

CLAY MASTERS: Last October we brought you the story of $3 million worth of illegal construction productions at one of the nation’s most sacred Native American burial grounds. And it happened under the watch of the National Park Service.

Now this we’re talking about is Effigy Mounds. It’s up in northeast Iowa. And new evidence shows that the National Park Service has covered up a report on the Effigy Mounds scandal.

Ryan Foley is with me. He’s a reporter with the Associated Press here in Iowa. Hello Ryan.

RYAN FOLEY: Hello Clay.

Jasperdo / Flickr

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government incarcerated 110,000 Japanese Americans in interment camps. When the war ended and those Americans were allowed to go home, the thousands of barracks that they called home were left behind. The government sold them to any one who could move them, often for just a dollar a piece.

Guimir / Wikimedia Commons

There's more to Madison County than covered bridges, and some significant historical preservation work will be on display at the Preserve Iowa Summit later this month.

Photo by Christopher Gannon

When Iowa history is taught the focus is usually on settlement and early statehood, but interesting things have happened since 1846.

A new summer course at Iowa State University is designed to fill in some of the gaps.

This summer, a first of its kind online history course focusing on civil rights in Iowa is being offered to ISU students, teachers, and the general public.

manhhai / flickr / Jim Stanitz Collection

Thirteen years, four months and one week after the death of the first American killed in open combat with the enemy, American troops withdrew completely from Vietnam on April 30th, 1975.

On this archive edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Bob Drury, author of a book about the final hours of the withdrawal. Also joining the conversation, former Marine platoon commander in Vietnam Dan Gannon. Gannon is now a Vietnam of America representative to the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs. 

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

The University of Iowa’s museum on wheels is gearing up for another summer on the road, this year with new exhibits.  

2014 exhibits focused on the natural history of Iowa and the human body. This year visitors will find exhibits about Iowans in space, World War II and water.

JC Gillett travels with the 38-foot converted RV.

Battle Buddies

Apr 8, 2015
Cory Smith Photography

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Eric and Leonard Myszka of Cedar Falls will be sharing their 650 square foot diorama of the Appomattox courthouse and battlefield. The display features more than 7,600 hand painted toy soldiers in elaborate detailed terrain with imbedded sound and special effects.  The Myszkas will host an open house this weekend. The diorama can also be seen by appointment.  

William Whittaker

Did you know that Iowa is home to approximately 27,000 recorded archaeological sites? All over the state there are records of Iowans who came before us.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with William Whittaker and Mary De La Garza, authors of “The Archaeological Guide to Iowa”.

Whittaker and De La Garza touched on some of their favorite sites across the state, from the Blood Run site outside of Sioux Falls to the Palace site outside of Des Moines.

screen shot

In 1956, female students at Iowa State College had to be back in the freshman dorms by 8:45 p.m. on weeknights with lights out at 11:00 p.m. 

Gracia Willis graduated from ISC, now Iowa State University, in 1959. She says, in those days, there were strict standards for how co-eds were to behave.

“There were rules on nearly every aspect of our life. Groups of 12-15 ladies shared a telephone. The telephone was not to be used during study time. We were not allowed to wear slacks to class.”

Wikimedia Commons

Author and historian Jon Lauck is on a mission to revive an interest in the history of the country’s heartland.

Couresty of Robin Lillie

In July of 2007 construction was beginning for a new housing development in Dubuque. That's when someone found human remains.  

J. Stephen Conn

While many see the Ten Commandments as a simple and powerful set of laws to live by; they are also a lightning rod for controversy in this country.

courtesy of Clark Kidder

Thousands of orphan came to Iowa and other Midwestern states by train. A documentary premiering on Iowa Public Television tonight chronicles their stories.

Örlygur Hnefill / Flickr

35 years ago this month, we were in the first few weeks of the Iran hostage crisis. The crisis would last 444 days, and one Iowan was there for all of them.

Courtesy of Charles Notis

Charles Notis created one of the most prominent commercial weather forecasting groups in the state with Harvey Freese.

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Not many of us are aware of an event that occurred in 1840 in Bellevue, Iowa, a town along the Mississippi River in Jackson County, south of Dubuque.  It was there on main street that a massive frontier gunfight took place, between outlaws and vigilantes.   The shoot-out was between a posse led by sheriff W.A. Warren and a group of men led by W.W.

Rev. Superinteressante / Wikimedia Commons

Science often runs in the family. And while the Albert Einstein we all know studied particle physics, his first son, Hans Albert Einstein, studied rivers.

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived hard and died young. But while their wild lifestyle did not endure, the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald continue to captivate modern readers.  Today on Talk of Iowa we'll talk with R. Clifton Spargo, author of "Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald."

Iowa National Guard cameramen

Iowa's worst air disaster is being commemorated this coming weekend. It was 25 years ago when United Flight 232 wobbled into Sioux City for a crash landing that killed 112 passengers. Our historic sound project remembers that tragic day with audio recordings going back to July 19, 1989. Reporter Durrie Bouscaren contributed to this story.

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately forty minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Library of Congress

During prohibition, there were people all over the United States making and selling spirits, but the people in Templeton, Iowa who were making fine whiskey were not your run of the mill bootleggers.  Host Charity Nebbe digs in to the remarkable history of Templeton Rye with Bryce Bauer, author of Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition, and a Small Town in Cahoots and historian Tim Walch.  They talk about why Iowa went dry five years before the rest of the country and how this small town set

Cecil Stoughton / John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Do you believe the moon landing was faked? Do you think the “Great Recession” was orchestrated by a small group of Wall Street bankers?

Bill Erickson

Social studies doesn't fall under the three Rs in education, and it shows. From school district to school district, the way that history, government, and world culture courses are taught varies dramatically.

Today on Talk of Iowa, we focus on civics education in our state, and talk with some extraordinary teachers.

Underwood & Underwood / Public Domain/Library of Congress

In Iowa, many of us are proud of our progressive history, but that doesn't mean we don't have skeletons in our closets, and even some Ku Klux Klan robes in the attic.  After World War I, life in Iowa changed dramatically, and a lot of people didn't like it.  That disorientation opened the door to the Ku Klux Klan.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with two historians from Mason City about the history of the Klan in Iowa.  We heard from numerous listeners whose families had direct experience with the KKK, including Larry in Des Moines.  Charity talked with Larry after the show, and he shared this st

Lindsey Moon/Iowa Public Radio

Have you ever wished the Museum of Natural History would visit you? Well, it’s on its way.

This spring The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History has launched a new initiative - the University of Iowa Mobile Museum - in collaboration with the UI’s Old Capitol Museum and the Office of the State Archaeologist. The 38-foot, custom built RV will being its tour of the state next week.

Charity Nebbe

In 1955 Virginia Myers first arrived in Iowa City with $150 in her pocket. When she stepped off the train, she had no place to live and no job. She hadn’t even been in touch with the University of Iowa about enrolling in classes, even though that was the reason she came to Iowa in the first place.

University Press of Kansas

Many of the big ideas that have changed the world have started in small towns.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with John Miller about his new book, Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America, we’ll talk about how the place you come from shapes who you are, how small towns have changed over the years and about some remarkable men who came from Midwestern small towns. Then, sociologist Paul Lasley talks about what it means to grow up in a small town today.

Archives of American Art

While the Nazis were murdering millions of people, they also perpetrated the greatest mass theft in history.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with former Congressman and Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Jim Leach and Director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Sean O'Harrow about that theft, efforts to understand it decades after the fact and efforts to protect priceless artifacts during the war.
 

Courtesy of the Eisenhower Presidential Library- Museum & Boyhood Home

During the American Revolution future first lady Abigail Adams melted down the family pewter to make bullets.  The bullet mold she used will be on display at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum from April 19-Oct. 26, 2014, as part of the museum's new exhibit, America’s First Ladies.

Host Charity Nebbe, gets a preview of the exhibit with curator Melanie Weir and historian Elizabeth Dinschel.

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