State of Iowa reaches birthday milestone, turns 170

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state of Iowa has reached a birthday milestone.

Wednesday marks 170 years since Iowa achieved statehood. It became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union on Dec. 28, 1846.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the state historical museum near the state Capitol, opened two exhibits this month focused on Iowa history. The department is also hosting an event Wednesday at the museum to mark the state’s birthday.

Interesting facts about Iowa

TrekFest organizer Carol Riggan poses next to "memorial" designating the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk in Riverside, Iowa (Getty Images)

TrekFest organizer Carol Riggan poses next to “memorial” designating the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk in Riverside, Iowa (Getty Images)

– Riverside, Iowa is the future birthplace of James Kirk, the fictional Star Trek character. As future history goes, Kirk will be born March 22, 2228.

– The world’s first electronic digital computer was created by  John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State University from 1937 to 1942. The computer replica was moved from the University in 2010 to be housed in California’s Computer History Museum.

– Davenport,Iowa is the home of sliced bread. Although the first machine to slice bread was used in Missouri, the machine fell apart after only six months of use. The more successful invention was used in a bakery located in the inventor’s hometown of Davenport.

1892:  The programme for Buffalo Bill's Wild West show at Earl's Court, London.  (Getty Images)

1892: The programme for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show at Earl’s Court, London. (Getty Images)

– The University of Iowa is the first state university in the country to enroll men and women as students on an equal basis. In 1873, Mary B. Hickey Wilkinson was the first women in America to earn a law degree. Only a few years later, Alexander Clark became the first African American in the country to earn a law degree. Both are U of I alumni.

– Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, was born in West Branch, Iowa, and is was the first president born west of the Mississippi. You can still learn all about his life at the Herbert Hoover Museum located in his hometown.

– Other prominent Americans from Iowa include wild West icon ‘Buffalo’ Bill Cody, actor Ashton Kutcher, jazz player Bix Beiderbecke, painter Grant Wood, actor John Wayne, and inventor George Washington Carver.

General Iowa facts

Iowa is named after the Ioway people, a Native American tribe.

Nickname: The Hawkeye State

Motto: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain

State bird: American Goldfinch

State flower: Wild rose

State tree: Oak

State rock: Geode