Kalona, Iowa is a quaint little town located in Washington County. This small town of just under 2,500 people has a rich history dating back to the 1800s. Over the years, Kalona has been the site of many significant events that have shaped the town and its surroundings. Here are seven historical events that have taken place near Kalona, Iowa.
1. The Underground Railroad: Kalona, like many other towns in Iowa, was a station on the Underground Railroad. Iowa was a free state, and many slaves escaped from the South through Iowa, with the help of abolitionists who ran the Underground Railroad. Kalona was one of the many towns that provided a safe haven for escaped slaves on their journey to freedom.
2. The Battle of Pea Ridge: During the Civil War, the Battle of Pea Ridge took place near Fayetteville, Arkansas. The battle was significant because it marked the end of Confederate control in Missouri. Many soldiers from Washington County fought in the battle, and several lost their lives.
3. The Mormon Handcart Expedition: Kalona has a large Amish and Mennonite population, but it is also home to a small Mormon community. In the 1850s, many Mormons traveled through the area on their way to Utah. In 1856, the famous Mormon Handcart Expedition, which was a group of Mormons who traveled to Utah pushing handcarts, passed through Kalona. Many members of the group died due to harsh weather conditions and lack of supplies.
4. The Kalona Passes a Beer Ordinance: In 1884, the town of Kalona passed a beer ordinance that prohibited the sale of beer and liquor within town limits. The town passed the ordinance in an effort to curb drunkenness and other vices associated with the sale of alcohol. This ordinance was one of the earliest attempts to regulate the sale of alcohol in Iowa.
5. The Kalona Canning Company: In 1902, the Kalona Canning Company was founded, which became one of the biggest employers in the area. The company canned fruits and vegetables, and its products were sold across the country. The company operated until the 1990s when it was purchased by another corporation.
6. The Kalona Amish Community: One of the most significant events in the history of Kalona was the establishment of the Amish community in the area. The first Amish settlers arrived in the late 19th century and established a thriving community. Today, the Kalona Amish community is one of the largest in the country, with several Amish businesses, farms, and craftsmen.
7. The Washington County Fair: The Washington County Fair has been held in the Kalona area since 1867. The fair is a significant event because it showcases the agriculture and livestock of the area. The fair is also an essential social event in the area and draws people from across the county.
In conclusion, Kalona, Iowa has a rich and diverse history. From the Underground Railroad to the establishment of the Amish community, the town has been the site of many significant events. Today, Kalona continues to be an important cultural and economic center in Iowa.
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