A Tribute to Iowa
We come now to “a good land and a large”, as the Bible says, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” We come to Iowa.
Here men of the hills, from New York and New England, from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, first felt the enchantment of the Great Prairie. The good black earth lay many feet deep. Rich grasses rose to the height of a man’s shoulder, and the wild rose, later chosen by the people as their state flower, smiled its gentle welcome.
Once in those early days, to show the promise of the land and to guide the settlers on their path, a furrow was plowed all the way from Iowa City to Dubuque. Mile after mile for seventy miles the shining steel slipped through the rockless loam, turning over warm black ribbons of fertility.
The great prairie still casts its spell over Iowa, but today the wind ripples over vast acres of oats and wheat and tasseling corn. More of the land of Iowa is under cultivation than that of any other state. Corn and hogs are her wealth, but not by any means her only wealth.
Great beds of coal lie under her broad acres. Diversified manufactures flourish in her cities. At Keokuk a mile long dam harnesses the water power of the Mississippi. At Ames her college of agriculture leads in research and experiment, and at Iowa City her splendid university, with its nine thousand students, is the visible expression of a cultural impulse which has given to Iowa the highest literacy in America.
It was her adopted son, James Wilson, who lifted the national Department of Agriculture to its high plane of dignity and service. Jonathan Prentiss Dolliver and Albert Baird Cummins led the battle for progressive-ism in our political life. The glamorous hero of boyhood, Buffalo Bill, sprang from her soil. To literature she has given Emerson Hough, Herbert Quick, Susan Glaspell, Ellis Parker Butler, Ruth Suckow, and many another interpreter of American life. The President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, was born in an Iowa farming village. The Iowa prairies helped to give Antonin Dvorak, the Bohemian composer, inspiration for his music; the “Largo” of his “New World” Symphony was completed here in the Hawkeye State.
Such is the empire in which we now invite you — a fruitful land, a land of sturdy independent men and women, yes, and a land of beauty. Thirty-nine state parks are dotted with lakes and traversed by gently flowing streams. Glorious roads are everywhere, including the Lincoln Highway. Happiness awaits you. Hospitality awaits you. Climb into your car and drive to Iowa.
To Iowa, out where the tall corn grows.
Bruce Barton, author of “The Man Nobody Knows”, has written this tribute to Iowa for the “Parade of the States” Monday night programs of the General Motors Corporation, part of an educational plan to make the country as a whole better acquainted with the individual states — their history, scenic beauty, industries and people. Published in the Wyoming Journal, Wyoming IA on September 8, 1932.