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—  City  —
Main Street in downtown Ames in 2006
Location in the State of Iowa
Coordinates: 42°1′38″N 93°37′54″W / 42.02722°N 93.63167°W / 42.02722; -93.63167Coordinates: 42°1′38″N 93°37′54″W / 42.02722°N 93.63167°W / 42.02722; -93.63167
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Story
Incorporated 1864
 - Mayor Ann Campbell
 - City 21.58 sq mi (55.9 km2)
 - Land 21.57 sq mi (55.9 km2)
 - Water 0.01 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 942 ft (287 m)
Population (2008)[1][2]
 - City 56,510
 Density 2,390.2/sq mi (908.2/km2)
 Metro 86,754
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 50010-50014
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 19-01855
GNIS feature ID 0454167

Ames is a city located in the central part of the U.S. state of Iowa in Story County, and approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of Des Moines. It is the principal city of the Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Story County, and which, when combined with the Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area, comprises the larger Ames-Boone Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2000 Census, the city population was 50,731. While Ames is the largest city in Story County, the county seat is in Nevada which is 8 miles (13 km) east of Ames.

Ames is the home of Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU), a public research institution with leading Agriculture, Design, Engineering, and Veterinary Medicine colleges. ISU is the nation's first designated land-grant university,[3] and the birthplace of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the world's first electronic digital computer.[4] Ames is one of two national sites for the Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) which is provided by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).[5] Ames is also the home of the National Animal Disease Center (NADC).[6] NADC is the largest federal animal disease center in the U.S., conducting research aimed at solving animal health and food safety problems faced by livestock producers and the public. Ames has the headquarters for the Iowa Department of Transportation.

It is the site of the Ames Straw Poll, an important straw poll in the Republican party presidential nomination process as well as the first in the nation Democratic and Republican caucuses (see Politics, below).

The city is featured in the bestselling book The Girls from Ames written by Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow. It examines the lives and friendships of several young girls who grew up in Ames and have moved on with their adult lives but still remain close.



The city was founded in 1864 as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad and was named after 19th century U.S. Congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, who was influential in the building of the transcontinental railroad. Ames was founded near a location that was deemed favorable for a railroad crossing of the Skunk River.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.6 square miles (55.9 km²), of which, 21.6 square miles (55.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.09%) is water.

Ames is located on Interstate 35, U.S. Route 30 & 69, and the cross country line of the Union Pacific Railroad, located roughly 30 miles (48 km) north of the state capital Des Moines. Two small rivers run through the town, the Skunk River and Squaw Creek.



Ames has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa).

Climate data for Ames
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71
Average high °F (°C) 27
Average low °F (°C) 10
Record low °F (°C) -26
Precipitation inches (mm) .74
Source: Weather Channel [7] 8 April 2009


Historical Populations
Year Pop.  %±
1870 636
1880 1,153 81.3%
1890 1,276 10.7%
1900 2,422 89.8%
1910 4,223 74.4%
1920 6,270 48.5%
1930 10,261 63.7%
1940 12,555 22.4%
1950 22,898 82.4%
1960 27,003 17.9%
1970 39,505 46.3%
1980 45,775 15.9%
1990 47,198 3.1%
2000 50,731 7.5%
2008 56,510 11.4%
Source:"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.  and Iowa Data Center

As of the census of 2000,[8] there were 50,731 people, 18,085 households, and 8,970 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,352.3 people per square mile (908.1/km²). There were 18,757 housing units at an average density of 869.7/sq mi (335.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.34% White, 9.70% Asian, 3.65% African American, 0.04% American Indian, 0.76% Pacific Islander and other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.98% of the population.

There were 18,085 households out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city, the population was spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 40.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 13.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 109.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,042, and the median income for a family was $56,439. Males had a median income of $37,877 versus $28,198 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,881. About 7.6% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.

Metropolitan area

Location of the Ames-Boone CSA and its components:      Ames Metropolitan Statistical Area      Boone Micropolitan Statistical Area

Ames is the larger principal city of the Ames-Boone CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Ames metropolitan area (Story County) and the Boone micropolitan area (Boone County),[9][10][11] which had a combined population of 106,205 at the 2000 census.[8]

City power plant at night


Iowa is a "battleground state" that has trended slightly Democratic in recent years, and Ames, like Iowa City, also trends Democratic. Because Iowa is the first caucus state and Ames is a college town, it is the site of many political appearances, debates and events, especially during election years.

During every August in which the Republican presidential nomination is undecided (meaning there is no incumbent Republican president—as in, most recently, 2007, 1999, 1995 and 1987), the town plays host to the Ames Straw Poll, which gauges support for the various Republican candidates amongst attendees of a fundraising dinner benefiting the Iowa Republican Party. The straw poll dates back to 1979, and is frequently seen as a first test of organizational strength in Iowa by the national media and party insiders; as such, it can be very beneficial for a candidate to win the straw poll and thus enhance his aura of inevitability or show off a superior field operation. [1]


The town is served by U.S. Highways 30 and 69 and Interstate 35. Ames is the only town in Iowa with a population of greater than 50,000 that does not have a state highway serving it.

Ames was serviced by the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad via a branch from Kelley to Iowa State University and to downtown Ames. The tracks were removed in the 1960s. The Chicago and North Western Transportation Company twin mainline runs east and west bisecting the town and running just south of the downtown business district. The C&NW used to operate a branch to Des Moines. This line was removed in the 1980s when the Spine Line through Nevada was purchased from the Rock Island Railroad after its bankruptcy. The Union Pacific, successor to the C&NW, still runs 60-70 trains a day through Ames on twin mainlines, which leads to some traffic delays. There is also a branch to Eagle Grove that leaves Ames to the north. The Union Pacific maintains a small yard called Ames Yard east of Ames between Ames and Nevada. Ames has been testing automatic train horns at several of its crossings. These directional horns which are focused down the streets are activated when the crossing signals turn on and are shut off after the train crosses the crossing. This system cancels out the need for the trains to blow their horns. Train noise had been a problem in the residential areas to the west and northwest of downtown.

Ames has a municipal airport located 1-mile (1.6 km) southeast of the city. The current (and only) FBO is Hap's Air Service, a company which has been based at the airport since 1975. The airport has four runways - 01/19, which is 5700x100 feet, and 13/31, which is 3492x100 feet. Runway 13/31 is currently closed until further notice due to maintenance.

The City of Ames offers a transit system throughout town, called CyRide, that is funded jointly by Iowa State University, the ISU Government of the Student Body, and the City of Ames. Rider fares are subsidized through this funding, and are free to students and youth.

Ames has the headquarters of the Iowa Department of Transportation.[12]


Ames is home of Iowa State University of Science and Technology, a public land-grant and space-grant research university, and member of the prestigious American Association of Universities. At its founding in 1858, Iowa State was formerly known as the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Ames is the home of the closely allied U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center, the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory (a major materials research and development facility), and the main offices of the Iowa State Department of Transportation. State and Federal institutions are the largest employers in Ames.

Other area employers include a 3M manufacturing plant; Sauer-Danfoss, a hydraulics manufacturer; Barilla, a pasta manufacturer; and Ball, a manufacturer of canning jars and plastic bottles.


Café Beaudelaire in Campustown
Leedzsalon in Campustown

Campustown is the neighborhood directly south of Iowa State University Central Campus bordered by Lincoln Way on the north. Campustown is a high-density mixed-use neighborhood that is home to many student apartments, nightlife venues, restaurants, and numerous other establishments, most of which are unique to Ames.


Ames is served by Mary Greeley Medical Center, a 220-bed regional referral hospital which is adjacent to McFarland Clinic PC, central Iowa's largest physician-owned multi-specialty clinic, and also Iowa Heart Center.

Iowa State University

The Iowa State University of Science and Technology, more commonly known as Iowa State University (ISU), is a public land-grant and space-grant research university located in Ames. Iowa State has produced a number of astronauts, scientists, Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and a variety of other notable individuals in their respective fields. Until 1945 it was known as the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The university is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities and the Big 12 Conference.

In 1856, the Iowa General Assembly enacted legislation to establish the State Agricultural College and Model Farm. Story County was chosen as the location on June 21, 1859, from proposals by Johnson, Kossuth, Marshall, Polk, and Story counties. When Iowa accepted the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, Iowa State became the first institution in nation designated as a land-grant college. The institution was coeducational from the first preparatory class admitted in 1868. The formal admitting of students began the following year, and the first graduating class of 1872 consisted of 24 men and 2 women.[3]

The first building on the Iowa State campus was Farm House. Built in the 1860s, it currently serves as a museum and National Historic Landmark. Today, Iowa State has over 60 notable buildings, including Beardshear Hall, Morrill Hall, Memorial Union, Petrashek Auditorium, Catt Hall, Curtiss Hall, Carver Hall, Parks Library, the Campanile, Hilton Coliseum, C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, Fisher Theater, Jack Trice Stadium, Lied Recreation Center, numerous residence halls, and many buildings specific to ISU's many different majors and colleges. Iowa State is home to 27,945 students (Fall 2009)[13] and makes up approximately one half of the city's population.

The official mascot for ISU is Cy, the cardinal. The official school colors are cardinal and gold. The Iowa State Cyclones play in the NCAA's Division I-A as a member of the Big 12 Conference.

Points of interest

Notable people


  1. ^ "Population Estimates and Rankings for Population, Numerical Change, and Percent Change for Iowa's Incorporated Places: 2000-2008" (PDF). Iowa Data Center. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  2. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Cumulative Estimates of Population Change for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Rankings: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  3. ^ a b Iowa State University Time Line, 1858-1874. Iowa State University Website.
  4. ^ The First Electronic Computer by Arthur W. Burks
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Average weather for Ames Weather Channel Retrieved 8 April 2008
  8. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Components, Office of Management and Budget, 11 May 2007. Accessed 1 August 2008.
  10. ^ Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Compontents, Office of Management and Budget, 11 May 2007. Accessed 1 August 2008.
  11. ^ Combined Statistical Areas and Component Core Based Statistical Areas, Office of Management and Budget, 11 May 2007. Accessed 1 August 2008.
  12. ^ "Where We Are Located." Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved on October 25, 2009.
  13. ^ . ISU Registrar's Office. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  14. ^ Atanasoff-Berry Computer
  15. ^ The Girls from Ames

External links

Simple English

Ames is a city of Iowa in the United States. In 2006 there were 54,181 people living in the city.[1] It is was built between Skunk River and Squaw Creek, 35 miles north of the state capital, Des Moines. The town was first settled in 1864 as a railway town at a spot where the Skunk River could be crossed easily.[2] It was named after Oakes Ames, a member of the US Congress who supported building the railway.[3]

Ames is the home of the Iowa State University. It is also famous for being the home of the U.S Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center.[3]


  1. "Ames IA (Iowa)". Muni Net Guide. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  2. "Ames, Iowa". Economic Expert. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Ames, Iowa Facts". CityTownInfo .com. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 

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