Ames: A smart choice for 150 years.

Next up: Dinkey Day! Celebrate our history on Friday, Sept. 26 in Campustown. Check out the details on our events page. Sign up here to volunteer at the event!

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  • The year 2014 marks a significant milestone in our community’s history. Ames will celebrate its sesquicentennial.

    We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings as a modest railroad town established on swampland. The first 12 blocks of Ames were platted and recorded on Dec. 17, 1864, and our city has changed dramatically in the years that followed. As the home of Iowa State University, Ames is recognized as a national leader in science and technology, and our city provides residents with quality of life amenities second to none. Just recently, we were named a top 100 community by Livability.com, a national website that ranks America’s small and mid-sized cities. Clearly, Ames is a Smart Choice! In 1863, John Insley Blair and Massachusetts Congressman Oakes Ames traveled into Iowa as far as the railroad line went, and then traveled by stagecoach farther west. Blair was with the railroad and selected the marshy property between the Skunk River and Squaw Creek as a future train depot location. In 1864, Blair was deeded land from a local resident, Cynthia Duff. Blair named the town after his railroad friend, Oakes Ames, who never actually set foot in town.

    To acknowledge this historic year, the Ames 150 volunteer steering committee has been established. Celebratory events, public education opportunities, and legacy projects for future generations are in the early stages of planning. The year will be celebrated through a series of Ames 150 signature events, as well as through legacy projects that will be visible reminders of the this historic milestone.

Check out the live entertainment line up for the 4th of July!