Below are some interesting facts about January 1 in Iowa history. Here are five:
1. Iowa Became a State: On January 1, 1846, Iowa officially became the 29th state of the United States. Congress had authorized it to enter the Union two months earlier, and President James K. Polk signed the law on December 28, 1846. Iowa's statehood was celebrated with joyous processions, public speeches, and other festivities.
2. A Serial Killer Was Captured: On January 1, 1975, John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer, was arrested in Des Moines, Iowa. Gacy would go on to be convicted of the murder of 33 people, most of whom were young men and boys whom he had lured to his home by offering them construction jobs. The case shocked the nation and led to reforms in missing persons investigations.
3. A College Football Tradition Started: On January 1, 1929, the first-ever Rose Bowl game between two Midwest football teams took place in Pasadena, California. The University of Iowa played the University of California, Berkeley. Although Iowa lost to Cal 7-38, the game launched a college football tradition that continues to this day.
4. A Major Interstate Highway System Opened: On January 1, 1965, the Interstate 80 highway was opened in Iowa, connecting the east and west coasts of the United States through the state. The construction of the major transportation system had taken six years to complete and had created numerous jobs for Iowans.
5. A New Fireworks Law Took Effect: On January 1, 2012, a new law concerning fireworks went into effect in Iowa. It made it legal for Iowans to buy and use consumer-grade fireworks, including firecrackers and Roman candles, for the first time in decades. The law also allowed cities and counties to regulate or ban fireworks within their borders. The change led to increased fireworks sales and revenue for businesses, but also concerns about safety and nuisance.
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