1. Iowa became a state on December 28, 1846, but four days earlier, on December 24, the Iowa Territorial Capitol was destroyed by a fire. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it resulted in the loss of important government records.
2. In 1863, during the height of the Civil War, Iowa Governor Samuel Kirkwood issued a proclamation asking Iowans to observe December 24 as a day of fasting and prayer for the country's welfare.
3. On December 24, 1900, a major snowstorm hit Iowa, complicating holiday travel plans and disrupting mail service. The storm dumped up to 11 inches of snow in some areas and caused widespread power outages.
4. In 1923, the Iowa State College football team played its first bowl game on December 24 against Gonzaga University in the San Diego Christmas Classic. Iowa State won the game 48-20.
5. On December 24, 1983, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad commuted the sentences of all of Iowa's death row inmates to life in prison without parole. Branstad, a staunch opponent of the death penalty, cited concerns about the fairness and accuracy of Iowa's capital punishment system as his reason for the decision.
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