Ames Historical Society

Ames Historical Society Ames Historical Society is located in downtown Ames, IA. The Society operates daily to engage a diverse public and provide unique opportunities to learn about Ames history.
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Ames Historical Society's main activities are to: Preserve Ames history - The Society collects archival material and artifacts to document city government, schools, businesses, organizations, residents, transportation and events and celebrations throughout Ames history. Provide reference service - Questions come to us daily by email, correspondence, phone and walk-in traffic. Historical resources transferred to us from the Ames Public Library over the past few years now allow us to answer most incoming inquiries. The massive photo archive of the Ames Tribune coupled with our own extensive photo collection allow us to supply images to individuals, businesses and media organizations. Besides photos, our collections of maps, directories, school yearbooks, newspapers, building plans, Multiple Listing Service and WWII Story County veterans’ service records enable us to serve hundreds of visitors and clients annually. Maintain a website - The “virtual” concept for sharing our collections is well illustrated by our website containing over 7,000 pages of content available 24/7/365 to anyone with connectivity. The site averages over one gigabyte of traffic daily, generating requests for further information and donations as well. Operate a one-room school museum - Hoggatt School was the first schoolhouse in the vicinity. It was built in 1861-1862 to serve residents before the city of Ames was established. The acquisition, move and restoration of this school were the driving forces in the founding of the society. In 1981, the log-frame building was moved to its present location on the grounds of Meeker School. Furnishings, fixtures, textbooks and other artifacts reflect the period of the 1860s. The school is open to the public on Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. during the summer, June 1st to August 31st, and is available for pre-arranged visits from April 1st to October 31st. Visitors can sit at desks, write on slates, view a typical day’s schedule or read a McGuffey’s reader to gain a feeling for nineteenth-century education. Publish a quarterly newsletter for members - A typical issue contains news of past and future activities, readers’ mail and recollections, collection additions, website enhancements and special articles (sometimes written by members or guest authors). Provide photos to the Ames Tribune - The weekly “From the Archives” photo series has been running since 2006. Residents and non-residents alike express appreciation for these popular reminders of Ames life in days past. All images and related supplementary material are archived on our website. Loan exhibits - At various times staff members have created a variety of exhibits that can be loaned at no charge to Ames organizations. Exhibits consist of photographs, copies of original documents, and text mounted on art-board panels. Topics include: Ames Names, Main Street Stories, Carr’s Pool, The Railroad in Ames, Billy Sunday, and many others. Present programs - Local organizations may request programs on a number of specific topics. Presentations frequently combine PowerPoint images with objects. A monthly winter lecture series is open to the general public from January through April. Topics have included: All the Smoke and Cinders You’ll Ever Want: Ames & College Railway’s “Dinkey,” Historical Whatchamacallits & Thingamajigs, The McFarland Clinic Story, The Carr Family and Carr’s Pool, and Who Killed Henry Chavis? A presentation specialty has evolved in our customized PowerPoint shows given as banquet programs for Ames High School class reunions. Images from our collections are combined with scanned, class-supplied photos to prompt nostalgic recollections and audience interaction. In 2011, 50 presentations were attended by over 1900 people. Give tours - An historic walk through downtown Ames is conducted on demand throughout the year except during the winter season. Iconic personages, former businesses and historic buildings are emphasized. Multi-page brochures are available for self-guided historical tours of either the downtown business district or the Old Town housing district. Educate youth - Primary school children cannot always make field trips to our headquarters, so staff takes selected objects and archival material to the classrooms. This effort complements the Ames School District third grade unit on local history. Cub Scout dens delight in the hands-on experience given onsite by our youth specialist. By engaging this age group with activities that are both fun and educational, a new generation is cultivated that values the contributions of the past and views local history as important. Middle school, high school and college students also make use of our resources for special projects, such as National History Day projects. Cooperate with other cultural organizations - The society maintains a close working relationship with its companion organizations in the Main Street Cultural District: the Ames Public Library (APL) and The Octagon Center for the Arts. Special programs are co-sponsored annually with the Library and on-going consultation occurs regarding collection development and reference questions. Interaction with the Octagon staff centers on exhibits, preservation and storage issues. Other organizations outside the District also benefit from our collections. Iowa State University’s Brunnier Art Museum has received loans of artwork for exhibit and Des Moines University Library has an indefinite loan of medical equipment used by an Ames osteopath. The State Historical Society of Iowa and the African-American Museum of Iowa recently displayed images provided by us for their exhibits. Sell publications and gift items - The museum shop focuses on titles illuminating Ames history. In-print items include all of Farwell Brown’s books and two different walking tour brochures: History Walk Through Downtown Ames and Old Town Historic District. Out-of-print titles are also available such as: Ames Centennial History (1964). Popular gift items are postcards of historic Ames images, slate boards and pencils, “clickers,” and Dinkey T-shirts.

The Ames Public Library has a lovely new website! https://www.amespubliclibrary.org/Be sure to check out the Farwell T. ...
01/09/2019
Home | Ames Public Library

The Ames Public Library has a lovely new website! https://www.amespubliclibrary.org/

Be sure to check out the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive and the digitized Ames Tribune, both located under Learn & Explore > Local History.

Today's Hours: 9:00am - 9:00pm Ames Public Library 515-239-5646 515 Douglas Avenue Ames, IA 50010 See map: Google Maps Sun: 1:00pm-5:00pm Mon: 9:00am-9:00pm Tue: 9:00am-9:00pm Wed: 9:00am-9:00pm Thu: 9:00am-9:00pm Fri: 9:00am-6:00pm Sat: 9:00am-6:00pm

Our current exhibit includes reproduced stereoscope cards taken by Martin Morrison. Morrison was an Ames photographer in...
01/08/2019

Our current exhibit includes reproduced stereoscope cards taken by Martin Morrison. Morrison was an Ames photographer in the late 1800s, and often traveled back and forth between Ames and his hometown in Norway.

Stop by to view these neat 3D images and see the rest of the exhibit! "Exploring Historic Ames: Unique Selections from the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive" will be on display until August. The History Center is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10-4.

An annual tradition in the Ames Tribune was announcing the first baby born in the New Year. Little Miss New Year of 1949...
01/06/2019

An annual tradition in the Ames Tribune was announcing the first baby born in the New Year. Little Miss New Year of 1949 was Pauletta Marie Clark, daughter of Paul and Ruth Clark, of rural Ames. She weighed eight pounds, four ounces when she was born at 1:33 P.M. New Year’s Day.

Photo published in the Ames Tribune, January 6, 1949.

Today is #nationaltriviaday! Here's an Ames history trivia question for you:An important early settler to the area was C...
01/04/2019

Today is #nationaltriviaday! Here's an Ames history trivia question for you:

An important early settler to the area was Cynthia Duff. She assisted the railroad with acquiring the land needed to plat the original town, owned a restaurant on Main Street with her husband, Alexander, and helped start the first church in Ames. Duff Avenue was named after Cynthia, and another street in the downtown area was also named for her – using her maiden name. What was Cynthia Duff’s maiden name?

The Harris TV building at 335 Lincoln Way is being demolished today. They were in business for over 60 years. Here are s...
12/14/2018

The Harris TV building at 335 Lincoln Way is being demolished today. They were in business for over 60 years. Here are some photos from their grand opening in November 1956.

Ames Tribune photos.

Our newest exhibit at the History Center is "Exploring Historic Ames: Unique Selections from the Farwell T. Brown Photog...
12/11/2018

Our newest exhibit at the History Center is "Exploring Historic Ames: Unique Selections from the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive," on display until August 2019. It features photos collected by Farwell Brown, Ames historian and founder of the historical society. The photos on display were chosen from the collection based on their ability to place visitors in the past.

Featured photos include early interiors of Ames businesses, stereoscope images taken by Martin Morrison, and a life-sized replica of the H-tree, which serves as a photo op for visitors.

The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Ames Public Library, which hosts the full photo collection on its website.

Stop by to see the exhibit at the Ames History Center, Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-4pm!

Our Members After Hours event last night was lots of fun! Members had the chance to see our newest exhibit, and the top ...
11/30/2018

Our Members After Hours event last night was lots of fun! Members had the chance to see our newest exhibit, and the top hat cookies were delicious!

Become a member and join in on these events! We host Members After Hours twice a year. http://www.ameshistory.org/content/become-member

Today, on #givingtuesday, consider donating to Ames Historical Society to help us fulfill our mission to provide unique ...
11/27/2018

Today, on #givingtuesday, consider donating to Ames Historical Society to help us fulfill our mission to provide unique opportunities to learn about Ames history!

We are the only organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Ames. Donations provide for day-to-day work, including new exhibits, lecture series, kids' programs, and research assistance.

Donate here: http://www.ameshistory.org/content/donate-society

ISU Naval ROTC Midshipman Bob McFarlin, dressed in the uniform of a Colonial Army Soldier, displays one of the flags fro...
11/11/2018

ISU Naval ROTC Midshipman Bob McFarlin, dressed in the uniform of a Colonial Army Soldier, displays one of the flags from the American Revolutionary era while Marine 1 Sgt. James Mallini of the NROTC staff explains the origin of the flag to students at Mitchell Elementary School. Photo published in the Ames Tribune, November 11, 1975.

Iowa State University Department of History
11/06/2018

Iowa State University Department of History

On 5 November 2018, the History Department joined with the First Amendment Committee of the Greenlee School, the Ames Public Library, and the Ames Historical Society to host Eric Schmalz from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at a series of events at Iowa State and in Ames. Mr. Schmalz is Community Director of History Unfolded: U.S Newspapers and the Holocaust. He visited three classes on campus and gave a public lecture at the Ames Public Library, “‘The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown’: Newspapers, Op-Eds, and American Responses to Antisemitism.”

Did you know? Football helmets were not made mandatory by the National Federation of State High School Associations unti...
11/06/2018

Did you know? Football helmets were not made mandatory by the National Federation of State High School Associations until 1935.

Visit the History Center to see these pieces of leather football gear and many more sports-related artifacts as part of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit, on display until November 11!

Eight years ago, the old downtown Fareway building was demolished. The First Methodist Church purchased the lot.  A larg...
11/04/2018

Eight years ago, the old downtown Fareway building was demolished. The First Methodist Church purchased the lot. A large new entrance addition to the church was constructed and additional parking was added. Last month Fareway announced they would be building a new downtown store in Ames.

Did you know? The freshman and sophomore classes at Iowa State used to match up for an annual scrap, playing tug-of-war ...
10/30/2018

Did you know? The freshman and sophomore classes at Iowa State used to match up for an annual scrap, playing tug-of-war at Briley's Pond west of campus, or pushball as shown in this early-1900s photo, courtesy of Dee Dreeszen.

Pushball was played by teams of 50 students with a ball 6 feet in diameter. In a 1909 matchup at State Field, the sophomores beat the freshmen, 10-1.

Visit the History Center to see this photo and many more sports-related photos and artifacts as part of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit, on display until November 11!

“You go where the voters are.” This truism of politics applies equally to people seeking voter registrations. George...
10/28/2018

“You go where the voters are.” This truism of politics applies equally to people seeking voter registrations. George Palmer and Cathy Rathke (at left) decided their best option was to set up information at a tavern in Ames. Here they are registering Joan McDowell and Bill Coan (at right). Photo published in the Ames Tribune, October 28, 1974.

Did you know? The Iowa State sports teams were known as "Ames" until 1929, and student athletes even received "A" patche...
10/23/2018

Did you know? The Iowa State sports teams were known as "Ames" until 1929, and student athletes even received "A" patches for their letter sweaters instead of "I" patches.

Visit the History Center to see this 1920s football sweater and many more sports-related artifacts as part of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit, on display until November 11!

Did you ever participate in town or merchant baseball/softball teams?Carriage House Meats sponsored a fast-pitch softbal...
10/16/2018

Did you ever participate in town or merchant baseball/softball teams?

Carriage House Meats sponsored a fast-pitch softball team in the 1970s. Games were played at River Valley Park.

Visit the History Center to see this uniform and many more sports-related artifacts as part of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit, on display until November 11!

POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING! The Cemetery Walk has now been postponed until next spring. A date will be announced in early 20...
10/16/2018

POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING! The Cemetery Walk has now been postponed until next spring. A date will be announced in early 2019.

Did you know? Nile Kinnick Sr. (father of Nile Kinnick Jr. after whom the University of Iowa stadium is named) played fo...
10/09/2018

Did you know? Nile Kinnick Sr. (father of Nile Kinnick Jr. after whom the University of Iowa stadium is named) played football at Iowa State. Kinnick Sr. is shown at the bottom center of this football button from 1913.

Visit the History Center to see the button and many more sports-related artifacts as part of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit, on display until November 11!

Did you participate in 6 on 6 basketball? Did you cheer on your local team? Join us for this event tomorrow and share yo...
10/05/2018

Did you participate in 6 on 6 basketball? Did you cheer on your local team? Join us for this event tomorrow and share your stories and photos!

Ames Public Library Danfoss Room (2nd floor)
10:00-10:30am - Presentation by exhibit curators
10:30am-2:00pm - Collecting day - share your photos, scrapbooks, programs, clippings, memorabilia, and stories with the Iowa Women's Archive

What is your 6-on-6 Basketball story? We invite you to share your stories and photos Saturday Oct 6, 10am to 2pm with the Iowa Women's Archives. This is part of the Ames Smithsonian speaker series. Be sure to visit all of the exhibits through Nov 11! Get more info at amessmithsonian.org #MainStreet #smithsonian #AlwaysAmes

Did you know? The Ames History Center is open extended hours for the duration of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit!Monday - S...
10/01/2018

Did you know? The Ames History Center is open extended hours for the duration of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit!

Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, 1-5pm

Stop down to see it before November 11. And make sure to visit the other four locations with corresponding exhibits. A brochure is available at each location with a map to make sure you hit them all!

Today's the opening day of the Hometown Teams exhibit! Check out exhibits at these locations, open 10-5:Ames History Cen...
09/29/2018

Today's the opening day of the Hometown Teams exhibit! Check out exhibits at these locations, open 10-5:

Ames History Center, 416 Douglas
Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas
Octagon Center for the Arts, 427 Douglas
ISU Design on Main, 203 Main
Little Woods Herbs & Teas, 136 Main

And don't miss the tailgate party on October 4, 5-7pm! Plus many other events - check them out at amessmithsonian.org/events!

The Smithsonian Institute traveling exhibition "Hometown Teams" opens in downtown Ames this Saturday, Sept. 29! Be sure to make plans to attend the opening night reception "tailgate" party! Mascots, ISU pep band, free tailgating food, food trucks, cheerleaders and much more on Oct.4, 5-7pm. Get more information at amessmithsonian.org #MainStreet #smithsonian #museumonmainstreet #LoveLocal #AlwaysAmes #CommunityHappensHere

Our new exhibit opens tomorrow! Come downtown and learn about sports in Ames!
09/28/2018

Our new exhibit opens tomorrow! Come downtown and learn about sports in Ames!

09/21/2018

Sneak peek of a piece of our next exhibit!

"Hometown Teams: How Sports Shaped Ames" will be on display at the History Center, September 29 - November 11.

www.amessmithsonian.org

Our United Way of Story County Day of Caring volunteers are hard at work! Thank you, First National Bank staff, for help...
09/07/2018

Our United Way of Story County Day of Caring volunteers are hard at work! Thank you, First National Bank staff, for helping to sort and catalog part of our archives! #ameshistory #dayofcaring

Candy Block, 16, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. King Block, rural Nevada, could hardly contain her excitement as she was crown...
07/29/2018

Candy Block, 16, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. King Block, rural Nevada, could hardly contain her excitement as she was crowned the 1975 Story County Fair Queen by 1974 Fair Queen Tammy Wierson. Lori Ann Hill, Huxley, was first runner up and members of the queen’s court were Linda Harper, Colo, Kathy Randau, Story City, and Nancy Walker, Zearing.

Photo published in the Ames Tribune July 29, 1975.

This is a neat tool! My personal library use this year is worth over $1300. Ames Public Library is such an asset to our ...
07/27/2018
Ames Public Library

This is a neat tool! My personal library use this year is worth over $1300. Ames Public Library is such an asset to our community!

Ever wonder how much you'd be spending at Amazon if you didn't have the library? Find out your savings using this handy tool! #theydidthemath #LibrariesTransform

Ames had the privilege of being on the first RAGBRAI route in 1973. A decade later on the 10th anniversary, Ames was cho...
07/24/2018

Ames had the privilege of being on the first RAGBRAI route in 1973. A decade later on the 10th anniversary, Ames was chosen again. Bicycle technology has not changed as much as telephone technology has since 1983. Bell telephone bank trailers have been replaced with mobile cell phone towers. This week is the fifth time that Ames has been on the route, including 1973, 1976, 1983, and 2008.

Photo published in the Ames Tribune on October 27, 1983.

Due to the weather forecast, Members After Hours tomorrow afternoon will be held at the Ames History Center instead of a...
07/18/2018

Due to the weather forecast, Members After Hours tomorrow afternoon will be held at the Ames History Center instead of at Hoggatt School as originally planned.

Visit with other Ames Historical Society members, enjoy 1860s-themed refreshments, and learn about our one-room schoolhouse museum.

Thursday, July 19, 4-6pm
Ames History Center - 416 Douglas Ave.
Members only - not a member? Join now at ameshistory.org!

Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray (with shovel), ISU President Robert Parks and Cy were among the luminaries at the ground-bre...
07/17/2018

Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray (with shovel), ISU President Robert Parks and Cy were among the luminaries at the ground-breaking ceremonies for Iowa State’s new football stadium. Cyclone Stadium opened in 1975 and replaced Clyde Williams Field. It was renamed Jack Trice Stadium in 1997.

Photo published in the Ames Tribune October 27, 1973.

On July 8, 1974,temperatures were in the 90s. These three boys decided to beat the heat by swimming in Squaw Creek near ...
07/08/2018

On July 8, 1974,temperatures were in the 90s. These three boys decided to beat the heat by swimming in Squaw Creek near Brookside Park. A plastic air mattress helped keep them afloat in the flowing water. It is not recommended to swim in Squaw Creek with high flood waters.

Ames Tribune photo.

Did you know? Parking meters were invented by two engineering professors from Oklahoma State University in 1935. They ap...
07/06/2018

Did you know? Parking meters were invented by two engineering professors from Oklahoma State University in 1935. They appeared on Main Street in Ames in 1951. Two years later, in 1953, the businessmen in Campustown petitioned to have them installed there too.

Photo showing the Main Street parking meters, 1952.

We are closed tomorrow, July 4, but look for us in the parade with our history trailer! Have a safe and happy 4th of Jul...
07/03/2018

We are closed tomorrow, July 4, but look for us in the parade with our history trailer! Have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday!

The ISU Balloon Race, called the “Hare and Hound” race, was a ten-balloon competition race. A lead balloon flying ah...
07/01/2018

The ISU Balloon Race, called the “Hare and Hound” race, was a ten-balloon competition race. A lead balloon flying ahead dropped targets, which the balloons in the race tried to find. When the racers found the target, they dropped a marker aimed at the target. The balloon that dropped the marker closest won the race. Blair Larson, from Indianola, won the race. Photo published in the Ames Tribune July 1, 1976.

One hundred years ago in June of 1918, Ames saw its worst flood to date. The bridge at Squaw Creek and Lincoln Way was t...
06/29/2018

One hundred years ago in June of 1918, Ames saw its worst flood to date. The bridge at Squaw Creek and Lincoln Way was taken as a victim. After the flood waters receded the Goddard family was driving east when it collapsed, taking their car with it. No one was hurt in the incident. To cut building costs of the bridge in 1909 the county engineer changed the design of the bridge, causing its collapse. Disagreements about who should pay for the new replacement bridge delayed its construction until 1921.

Photo from the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive, Ames Public Library, Courtesy of the Iowa Department of Transportation.

06/21/2018

Our Members After Hours event scheduled for tonight is postponed due to the weather. A new date will be set soon.

First National Bank
06/21/2018

First National Bank

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Ames Trust & Savings Bank paved the way for progress in 1962, by introducing Ames’ first drive-up teller window. Customers could take care of banking needs quickly and from the comfort of their car. Drive-up banking continues to be a popular service to this day. #FNB247 #115BANKANNIVERSARY

Today is the first day of summer!Summer time was not all vacation for Ames High students back in 1957.  Here Elizabeth S...
06/21/2018

Today is the first day of summer!

Summer time was not all vacation for Ames High students back in 1957. Here Elizabeth Spedding makes adjustments to the display in the J.C. Penney’s window when it was located at 326 Main Street before its move to North Grand Mall. It’s evident that not only the location has changed but so have the fashions of the day. Unpublished Ames Tribune photo from June 8, 1957.

If you grew up in Ames, what summer jobs did you work?

Emmet “Dad” Carr and his wife Alpha “Mom” Carr adopted three children and provided foster care for over 80 more....
06/17/2018

Emmet “Dad” Carr and his wife Alpha “Mom” Carr adopted three children and provided foster care for over 80 more. Their care and concern for the welfare of children who were swimming in dangerous conditions in the Skunk River led them to construct a state of the art swimming pool in 1926 when voters turned down a referendum to construct one. The family ran Carr’s Pool until 1973 when the City of Ames purchased it. It was demolished in 2012 and is now Carr Park.

Did you know? Iowa museums attract 5 million visitors annually, offer 60,000 public programs, and preserve more than 680...
06/15/2018

Did you know? Iowa museums attract 5 million visitors annually, offer 60,000 public programs, and preserve more than 680,000 artifacts! #museumsmatter #iowamuseums #iowamuseumweek #ameshistory

Tell us about your favorite museum memories! What's the best museum you've ever been to? Have you visited the Ames Histo...
06/14/2018

Tell us about your favorite museum memories! What's the best museum you've ever been to? Have you visited the Ames History Center, and what did you like about it? What museums are still on your list to visit?

#throwbackthursday #tbt #ameshistory #iowamuseums #iowamuseumweek

It's #throwbackthursday, and we want to see and read about your favorite museum memories! Who knows, sharing a memory and tagging the museum may win you some prizes later this week (no guarantees). 😉

Don't forget to leave reviews on their Facebook, Google, and TripAdvisor pages! #iowamuseumweek #iowamuseums

We love our volunteers!Just this past month, we've had volunteers working on the following projects: scanning directorie...
06/13/2018

We love our volunteers!

Just this past month, we've had volunteers working on the following projects: scanning directories and photos, front desk, collections inventory, transcribing Ames history books, board and committee meetings, Main Street legacy project, entering objects into PastPerfect, photo inventory, creating finding aids for the archives, quilt and flag inventory, transcribing oral histories, photographing objects, cleaning, programs and events, fixing computers, artifact acquisition, and exhibit planning.

WHEW, that's a lot of projects! Seriously, we couldn't do what we do without our volunteers. #museumvolunteers #iowamuseumweek #iowamuseums #ameshistory

Address

416 Douglas Ave, Ste 101
Ames, IA
50010-6273

General information

Mission Statement: Our mission is to engage our diverse public and provide unique opportunities to learn about Ames history. We carry out this mission by: - maintaining an archive, artifact collection and website; - providing research assistance, exhibits, tours, programs and publications; - and operating an 1860s one-room schoolhouse museum.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(515) 232-2148

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