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30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

This hub for literature and athletics doesn’t want you kissing for more than five minutes.

Cait White

Contributor

16 articles, 0 comments

1. Keep the timer going, lip-lockers. In Iowa City, kisses may last for no longer than five minutes.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Flickr user DavidMartynHunt

2. In Iowa City, it’s a rule that any one-armed pianist is required to play for free.

3. It was a Hawkeye tradition during home games to buy a “big a– turkey leg” from Chuck Ford, who heckled potential customers in a loud booming voice. Ford retired in 2011.

4. Rumor has it that if you kiss or touch the Black Angel statue in the Oakland Cemetery on Halloween, you’ll be struck dead.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Wikimedia Commons user Billwhittaker

5. From 1924 to 1943 Howard Francis Moffitt built hundreds of whimsical houses in Iowa City and nearby Coralville. Moffitt had no formal architectural training, based many of his designs on magazine photos, and created no two houses alike.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Wikimedia Commons user Billwhittaker

6. In addition to being the head of the University of Iowa Department of Literature, Irving King also raised chickens. His hobby eventually evolved into the King-Littrell-Palmer Chicken Hatchery, which closed in 1986.

7. The Iowa-Minnesota rivalry rivals any other in college football—in fact the Floyd of Rosedale, a trophy shaped like a pig that goes to the game winner was named the top rivalry trophy of any college football match-up.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

8. Iowa City is one of seven cities designated as a world City of Literature by UNESCO.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

9. This love of literature was likely inspired by the city’s own Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which offers a world-renowned MFA program that has produced 13 Pulitzer Prize Winners. Graduates include John Irving, Flannery O’Connor, and T.C. Boyle.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Iowa Summer Writing Festival via Facebook

10. Eschewing literary stereotypes, the University of Iowa was ranked the top party school in the nation by “The Princeton Review.” It should come as no surprise, because it had previously ranked in the top 10 by “Playboy” twice.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Humans of Iowa via Facebook

11. If you follow the NFL, you’ve surely heard of the Hawkeyes of the University of Iowa. The team regularly sends top talent to the big leagues, such as Carolina Panther Charles Godfrey, Atlanta Falcon Pat Angerer, and Robert Gallery.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

12. A major pit stop on the campaign trail is Iowa City’s Hamburg Inn No. 2, which has served Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, among others. Its status in the race to the White House was immortalized in an episode of “The West Wing.”
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Hamburg Inn No. 2 via Facebook

13. University of Iowa is big on volunteering—especially when it involves dancing. The school’s annual Dance Marathon raises money for local and national charities.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

14. Look down when you’re walking along Iowa Avenue, and you’ll see a series of bronze panels. This is the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, and it features authors who have ties to Iowa, featuring their names and famous words on each panel.

15. UI seriously knows how to immerse its new students. On Iowa! is a celebration for incoming freshmen and transfer students that includes an evening at Kinnick Stadium where everyone gets let in on the secret traditions and learns the Iowa Fight Song.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

16. The University of Iowa built the first law school west of the Mississippi.

17. The Hamburg Inn No. 2 isn’t all politics, the “Burg” is nationally known for its concoction the pie shake—featured in “The New York Times.” It is just what it sounds like: a milkshake made with ice cream, milk, and a slice of pie.

18. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop offers an International Writing Program, which is one-of-a-kind and hosts writers in residence from more than 120 countries. Oh, yeah, and it was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

19. It would be difficult to count all of the famous alumni of Iowa. The massive names certainly don’t stop atwith Gallup Poll founder George Gallup, Tennessee Williams, Gene Wilder, Tom Brokaw, Ashton Kutcher, and world-famous physicist James Van Allen.

21. Bring your business to Iowa City, because “Forbes Magazine” named it one the second-best place of its size to do business in all of the United States.

20. All of you masters of fine arts can thank the University of Iowa, as it was the school that first created the MFA degree.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

21. No wonder the football team is so great. Iowa has produced more Division I college football coaches than any other college or university across the country, according to “The Wall Street Journal.”

22. Maybe they’re just looking out for women with sensitive skin, but a man with a moustache is not allowed to kiss a woman in public in Iowa City.

23. The University of Iowa made history twice by granting the first law degree to a woman in 1873, and then shortly after granting the first one to an African American in 1879.

24. Iowa City’s Old Capitol Cultural District was one of the first of its kind in the whole state of Iowa. It stretches from the University of Iowa Pentacrest to the Johnson County Courthouse to College Green Park and to the Northside neighborhood.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

25. Iowa City has the second largest mall in the whole state, Coral Ridge Mall.

26. Talk about a tradition. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has been named one of America’s best hospitals for more than 20 years in a row.

27. The University of Iowa was the first school to allow a black man to compete on a varsity athletic team, Frank Holbrook in 1895.

28. Huge names in literature flock to Iowa City for the annual Iowa City Book Festival, complete with readings from prominent authors and book-themed events for adults and kids alike. In 2014, for example, it will feature esteemed and highly decorated “Gilead” author Marilynne Robinson, “L.A. Confidential” and “Black Dahlia” writer James Ellroy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Jane Smiley.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: Iowa City Book Festival via Facebook

29. If you think the students are smart, take a look at the Writers’ Workshop faculty. IOWA faculty. Raymond Carver, Frank Conroy, Phillip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, and Meg Wolitzer have all taught in the program.

30. The Color Games are a tradition where fans wear black if they’re sitting in odd sections and gold if they’re sitting in even sections. This is only rivaled by the annual Blackout Game, when everyone wears black.
30 Things You Probably Didn′t Know About Iowa City

Source: University of Iowa via Facebook

Featured image source: Iowa Young Writers’ Studio via Facebook

What’s your favorite Iowa City fun fact? Tell us in the comments below!

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posted on: August 26, 2014
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