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5 Fun Facts About December 31 In Iowa History

---Learn Every Day: IA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ia To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1846, Iowa officially became the 29th state to be admitted into the Union on December 28. But it wasn't until December 31 of that year that the state's first governor, Ansel Briggs, was officially inaugurated.

2. On December 31, 1851, the first issue of the Iowa State Register was published in Iowa City. Founded by James G. Edwards, it became one of the state's most influential newspapers and ran until 1902.

3. In 1953, an Iowa State Patrol officer named Merle Hay became the first Iowan to die in the Korean War. The small town of Glidden, Iowa, erected a monument in his memory on December 31 of that year.

4. On December 31, 1986, the University of Iowa's band director, William B. Jones, led the Hawkeye Marching Band in a record-breaking performance of the "William Tell" overture. The 680-member band performed the piece in just over four minutes, setting a new world record for the fastest performance of that particular piece of music.

5. In 1995, the Iowa State Cyclones faced off against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the inaugural Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The game was played on December 31 and marked Iowa State's first bowl game appearance since 1978. Despite a valiant effort, the Cyclones lost to Alabama 24-20.
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