Grinnell, Iowa

Grinnell, Iowa

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Grinnell, Iowa
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Downtown Grinnell



mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Grinnell, Iowa

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name =
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 =
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Poweshiek
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =

area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 13.0
area_land_km2 = 12.9
area_water_km2 = 0.1
area_total_sq_mi = 5.0
area_land_sq_mi = 5.0
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 9105
population_density_km2 = 704.9
population_density_sq_mi = 1825.7

timezone = Central (CST)
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 309
elevation_ft = 1014
latd = 41 |latm = 44 |lats = 37 |latNS = N
longd = 92 |longm = 43 |longs = 29 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 50112, 50177
area_code = 641
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 19-33105
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0457150
website =
footnotes =

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. 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. In the early 1900s Grinnell was home to one of the pioneer's of modern aviation, [ Billy Robinson] . A [ photographic history of Billy's aviation accomplishments] is available as part of the Iowa Heritage Digital Collections Project. Grinnell was also 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. [ Historical photographs of Spaulding] products are also available from the Iowa Heritage Digital Collection. The Spaulding factory site will soon become home to the [ Spaulding Center for Transportation/Iowa Transportation Museum.]

The history of Grinnell is nicely covered in the book "Grinnell: A century of progress" published by the Grinnell Herald-Register in 1954. This book is available at [ Stewart Library] .

A nice collection of articles about the history of Grinnell is available from the [ Grinnell Room Archives] at Stewart Library. There is also an online version [ Voices from the Past] , an oral history project done by Friends of Stewart Library where residents tell of life in Grinnell during the depression and World War II. The library also maintains an [ obituary database] of area residents. It will provide a pdf image of obituaries that have appeared in the local newspapers from the last 1800s to the present.

Geography and climate

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 is located at coor dms|41|44|37|N|92|43|29|W|city (41.743750, -92.724742)GR|1.

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. [ [] ]


As of the censusGR|2 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

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:
* Merchant's National Bank - architect Louis Sullivan. Details and photos at
* Ricker House - architect Walter Burley Griffin. Details and photos at
* See a map of locations and a photo gallery of other significant Grinnell architecture at
* Additional documents on Grinnell architecture are available in pdf format from [ the Stewart Library website] .


In 1901 Joel Stewart funded the construction of the current [ Stewart Library] . The library has served the community well for over 100 years. Stewart Library provides wonderful [ programs for children] and [ young adults] . The library also serves as an information and technology center for the community by providing computer access and a number of [ historical] and [ reference resources] online.

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 is anticipated for spring of 2008.


The first school in Grinnell was founded in 1855. [ [ "Grinnell: A Century of Progress"] , p.10. Grinnell: "Grinnell Herald-Register", 1954.]

Schools within the Grinnell-Newburg School District include:
*Fairview Elementary School (K-2nd for the eastern side of town)
*Bailey Park Elementary School (K-2nd for the western side of town)
*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 area churches

A document on the [ History of some Grinnell churches] is available in pdf format from the online collections of Stewart Library.

[ A list of Grinnell churches] and their websites is maintained by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce.


Influential former residents

* Josiah Bushnell Grinnell, town founder and abolitionist to whom Horace Greeley is quoted as having said : "Go West, young man, go West."
* Hallie Flanagan, Federal Theater Project head
* Harry Hopkins, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's advisors and New Deal architect
* Robert Noyce, inventor and Intel co-founder
* Bruce Braley, member of the U.S. House of Representatives
* Billy Robinson, pioneer aviator. [ [] ] [ [ Billy Robinson's story] . From the online collections of Stewart Library.]
* Thomas R. Cech, Nobel Laureate in chemistry, graduate of Grinnell College
* Benjamin Barber, political theorist, professor at the University of Maryland, and graduate of Grinnell College
* Musician John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats
* Musician Rob Cushing
* Musician Herbie Hancock
* Tristram Parslow [] , attended Grinnell community schools as well as Grinnell College. Tristram is now the William Patterson Timmie Professor and Chair Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta GA.


External links

* [ City of Grinnell's webpage] which also serves as a portal to many local websites
* [ Stewart Library, Grinnell, Iowa]
* [ Grinnell Historical Museum]
* [ Grinnell Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Grinnell-Newburg School District]

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