Grinnell, Iowa: Wikis


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Grinnell, Iowa
—  City  —
Downtown Grinnell
Location of Grinnell, Iowa
Coordinates: 41°44′37″N 92°43′29″W / 41.74361°N 92.72472°W / 41.74361; -92.72472Coordinates: 41°44′37″N 92°43′29″W / 41.74361°N 92.72472°W / 41.74361; -92.72472
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Poweshiek
 - Total 5.0 sq mi (13.0 km2)
 - Land 5.0 sq mi (12.9 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 1,014 ft (309 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 9,105
 Density 1,825.7/sq mi (704.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 50112, 50177
Area code(s) 641
FIPS code 19-33105
GNIS feature ID 0457150
Merchants' National Bank, architect Louis Sullivan.

Grinnell is a city in Poweshiek County, Iowa, United States. The population was 9,105 at the 2000 census. Grinnell was named after Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and is the home of Grinnell College.



Grinnell was founded in 1854 by Josiah B. Grinnell. The city was originally slated to be named "Stella," but J.B. Grinnell convinced other members of the colony to adopt his own name for the city, citing it as a rare and concise name.[1] By 1880 Grinnell had a population of around 2000. Located at the junction of two railway lines (east-west line of the Rock Island Railroad and the north-south Minneapolis & St Louis (M&St L) Railroad) it became and remains the largest community in Poweshiek County. Grinnell was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Grinnell is also home to Grinnell College, the first college established west of the Mississippi. On June 17, 1882 a tornado destroyed most of the college campus and much of the community and caused a death toll near 100. In 1889 fire destroyed most of the downtown area.[2] In the early 1900s Grinnell was home to one of the pioneers of modern aviation, Billy Robinson.[3] Grinnell was home to Spaulding Manufacturing. H.W. Spaulding began making carriages and spring wagons in Grinnell, Iowa in 1876. In 1909 the Spaulding Manufacturing Company added automobiles to its production line. Spaulding automobiles were known for their quality construction from rugged materials. Automobile production ceased at the Spaulding factory in 1916 when it could no longer compete with the cheaper Ford automobile. The Spaulding factory site will soon become home to the Spaulding Center for Transportation/Iowa Transportation Museum. Grinnell is the home of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.

Geography and climate

Grinnell is located at 41°44′37″N 92°43′29″W / 41.74361°N 92.72472°W / 41.74361; -92.72472 (41.743750, -92.724742).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 square miles (13.0 km²), of which, 5.0 square miles (12.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.80%) is water.

Grinnell has a humid continental climate with clear seasons, hot, humid summers, and cold, snowy winters. The precipitation averages 36.07 in (916 mm) yearly. Summers are the rainiest times of year, with over two thirds of the precipitation falling between April and September in an average year.[5]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 3,856
1910 5,036 30.6%
1920 5,362 6.5%
1930 4,949 −7.7%
1940 5,219 5.5%
1950 6,828 30.8%
1960 7,367 7.9%
1970 8,402 14.0%
1980 8,868 5.5%
1990 8,902 0.4%
2000 9,105 2.3%

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 9,105 people, 3,498 households, and 2,067 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,825.7 people per square mile (704.5/km²). There were 3,725 housing units at an average density of 746.9/sq mi (288.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.88% White, 1.04% African American, 0.29% Native American, 2.01% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.57% of the population.

There were 3,498 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 19.9% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,625, and the median income for a family was $48,991. Males had a median income of $33,956 versus $23,864 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,939. About 8.9% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.


Downtown renovations

Downtown renovation plan design for the city of Grinnell

In the spring of 2005, Grinnell embarked upon another renovation project designed to make its downtown area more inviting for residents and visitors. The renovation encompassed new water mains, restoration of two-way traffic flow, brick crosswalks in the middle of each block, and more uniform parking spaces in front of downtown businesses. Additionally, a median strip at each intersection was designed with Grinnell's distinctive Jewel Box pattern. Infrastructure upgrades and aesthetic renovations were also planned for the southern section of the downtown area, to include Commercial Street.

Architectural landmarks

Grinnell has several notable architectural landmarks:


In 1901, Joel Stewart funded the construction of the current Stewart Library, which remains in service today.

Plans for a new library for Grinnell began in earnest in 2006 with the passage of a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) to assist with funding. In addition to the funds raised through the LOST tax, the library committed to raising $3.5 million in public funds through the Next Chapter campaign. Groundbreaking took place in the spring of 2008 and the library opened in the fall of 2009.


The first school in Grinnell was founded in 1855.[7]

Schools within the Grinnell-Newburg School District include:

  • Fairview Elementary School (K-2nd for the eastern side of the city)
  • Bailey Park Elementary School (K-2nd for the western side of the city)
  • Davis School (3rd-4th)
  • Grinnell Middle School (5th-8th)
  • Grinnell High School (9th-12th)

Additionally, there is one private school, Central Iowa Christian School, which enrolls about 35 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade.

Grinnell is the home of Grinnell College, a private liberal arts college.


Grinnell is served by Grinnell Regional Medical Center, an acute care hospital licensed for 81 beds. GRMC was established in 1967 after the merger of two hospitals. Nearly 60 physicians provide care at the medical center with specialties in family medicine, obstetrics, general surgery, anesthiology, podiatry, urology, internal medicine, neurology, mental health, emergency medicine, pathology, and radiology.


Notable residents


  1. ^ Hamilton, Henry. "A Chapter in the Early History of Grinnell." Grinnell Herald, 1892.
  2. ^ 1889 fire Fire Ravaged Grinnell in 1889]
  3. ^ The Story of Billy Robinson
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Average Weather for Grinnell, IA – Temperature and Precipitation
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Grinnell: A Century of Progress, p.10. Grinnell: Grinnell Herald-Register, 1954.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Billy Robinson's story. From the online collections of Stewart Library.

External links


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