Learn About The History Of Ames Iowa

Ames, IA is named after a man who never set foot in it after it was completed. It's named after Massachusetts congressman Oakes Ames, and it began as a rail road depot. As a depot, it served Missouri River and Cedar Rapids. While its named after the Congressman, its founder was actually a Railman named John Blair, who placed it on his railroad line. Blair and Ames had set out to survey the land that would later become Ames, however, Ames never returned to see to help set it up or see it.

Blair Buys Land TO Setup Ames

According to Alex Fejfar Blair, a member of the historical society, Blair chose to set up the town on his railroad after local landowners refused to sell him their land. Some of the landowners that Blair approached include Samuel Hiestand, Isaac Black, and L. Hoggatt. They all declined his offer citing the noisy nature of urban dwellings, which they did not being close to their rural homes. Once the landowners thwarted his efforts, he sough the help of Cynthia Duff, who also happened to be a landowner, and a respected person.

Duff went and offered to buy land for her "uncle" who was residing "in the east." She was able to buy over 320 acres from Hoggatt, Black, and Hiestand, going by the records of Ames Historical Society. She then sold it to Blair at the same price that she bought it from the previous landowners. Having acquired the land needed to build his railway line, Blair completed his railway line, passing it through the land in 1864, and officially bought the land from Duff in Nov. 1864.

The Railway Passing Through Ames Is Completed
After the railway was complete, the Blair Land Company officially laid out the town in December 17 1864. The new town surrounded by 8th Avenue on the north, on the west by Burnett Avenue, on the East by Duff Avenue. Hoggatt who was against the formation of the town initially later came to support it and built the Hoggatt School in 1862. Hoggart was also became the 4th Sheriff if Story County. Initially named for Cynthia Duff, the Duff Avenue, Onondaga Street, and Kellogg Avenue were all renamed Main Street. Kellogg was her maiden name, and she was from born in Onondaga County, N.Y.

Ames National Contribution

Ames is home to Iowa State University of Science and Technology, a leading institution in research related to Agriculture, Engineering, Design, and Veterinary Medicine. The University is the birthplace of the world’s first digital electronic computer, and it was the country’s first university to be designated as a land-grant university. The university also serves as the nation’s largest animal disease center. It conducts research that is geared towards keeping the nation’s animals disease free and ensuring that the it keeps food safety problems at bay.


The city covers a surface of 62.70 square kilometers, of which 0.16 square kilometers is covered by water. Two small streams run through the town; the Squaw Creek and South Skunk. The town is considered to be among the best places to live, thanks to the efforts of the local university and the communal efforts of the locals to make it a friendly place.