Dows, Iowa

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Dows, Iowa
Motto: A good town in a friendly community!
Location of Dows, Iowa
Location of Dows, Iowa
Coordinates: 42°39′25″N 93°30′8″W / 42.65694°N 93.50222°W / 42.65694; -93.50222Coordinates: 42°39′25″N 93°30′8″W / 42.65694°N 93.50222°W / 42.65694; -93.50222
Country  United States
State  Iowa
Counties Wright, Franklin
 • Total 0.80 sq mi (2.07 km2)
 • Land 0.77 sq mi (1.99 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
Elevation 1,152 ft (351 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 538
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 511
 • Density 699/sq mi (269.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 50071
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 19-22305
GNIS feature ID 0455978

Dows is a city in Franklin and Wright counties of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 538 at the 2010 census.


Dows had its start in the year 1880 by the building of the railroad through that territory.[4] Dows is named for a railroad contractor.[5]

Historical sites[edit]

The Dows Historical Society and community volunteers have restored several historical buildings, three of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rock Island Depot in Dows was built in 1896. The historical society purchased and restored the depot in 1988 that houses an Iowa Welcome Center and historical railroad and community memorabilia. The Quasdorf Blacksmith and Wagon Museum was built in 1899 and was restored in 1990. This is one of the best equipped blacksmith shops in the Midwest. The Fillmore Building, a large cornerstone building on the south side of Main Street, was built in 1894 and has housed many businesses over the years. In 1987 the building was purchased by the historical society and restored. In 1989, the Dows Mercantile and Crème de la Crème were opened in the building. The Dows Mercantile is an antique mall covering three floors. The Crème de la Crème is a sandwich shop/ice cream parlor.

The Vernon Township Schoolhouse was built in 1887 and is a typical of what one-room, country schoolhouses were like in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The building was moved to town and was restored both inside and out. The schoolhouse is furnished with original desks, blackboards, and books. Another historical building located in the downtown area is the Evans Prairie Home, located across from the Welcome Center.


Dows is located two miles (3 km) west of Interstate 35.

Dows is located at 42°39′25″N 93°30′8″W / 42.65694°N 93.50222°W / 42.65694; -93.50222 (42.656882, -93.502175).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.80 square miles (2.07 km2), of which, 0.77 square miles (1.99 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.[1]


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1900 818 —    
1910 892 +9.0%
1920 1,145 +28.4%
1930 926 −19.1%
1940 945 +2.1%
1950 948 +0.3%
1960 882 −7.0%
1970 777 −11.9%
1980 771 −0.8%
1990 660 −14.4%
2000 675 +2.3%
2010 538 −20.3%
2016 511 −5.0%
Source:"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.  and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 538 people, 250 households, and 142 families residing in the city. The population density was 698.7 inhabitants per square mile (269.8/km2). There were 305 housing units at an average density of 396.1 per square mile (152.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.3% White, 1.3% African American, 0.2% Asian, 3.9% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.4% of the population.

There were 250 households of which 21.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.2% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.77.

The median age in the city was 47.8 years. 19.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 29.3% were from 45 to 64; and 25.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 675 people, 290 households, and 164 families residing in the city. The population density was 867.3 people per square mile (334.1/km²). There were 320 housing units at an average density of 411.2 per square mile (158.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.30% White, 0.89% Asian, 6.37% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.19% of the population.

There were 290 households out of which 21.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.4% were non-families. 40.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.97.

20.0% were under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 26.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,141, and the median income for a family was $35,156. Males had a median income of $22,386 versus $25,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,109. About 8.1% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Convention Center[edit]

In 2003, the Dows Community Convention Center was built on Ellsworth Street. The building was modeled similarly to the Exchange Block that once stood as the cornerstone building to the north side of Ellsworth Street. The building includes a 4,800-square-foot (450 m2) convention room and a 360-square-foot (33 m2) meeting room. Also included is a large kitchen as well as many tables, internet hook ups, and nice restrooms. The building also houses the city offices.


Dows Community School District was established in 1880. The old high school was located in what is today city park. In 1914 a brick school building was built in the northwest side of town, where it stands today. In 1935, a two-story addition was built to the west that includes the gymnasium, office space, home economics room, and the upper level includes the library media center with two computer labs. In 1954 a one-story addition was built to the west that includes six elementary classrooms, band room, art room, ICN room, and Ag/Shop area. In 1961 an addition was built to the west of the elementary wing and includes four additional elementary classrooms. It was in the 1950s and 1960s that enrollment reached record levels of 532 students. In 1980 a multipurpose room was built to the north of the gym. In the 1980s and 1990s a bond issue was passed an extensive renovations were completed to all parts of the building.

Dows had many successes in sports over the years. The Dows Tigers won the state baseball championship in 1928. They also qualified for state in 1937. Dows had 2 individual girls state track championships. Dows/CAL qualified for the Class 1A State Football Playoffs in 1993. Dows had basketball players receive all-state basketball recognition in 1991, 1992, 1995, and 1996. Dows and CAL shared football, track, baseball, and softball in the last few years of the Dows High School. Dows and Northeast Hamilton also shared a girls basketball team for the 1997-98 season, which finished with a record of 19-4. The CAL/Dows High School began a wrestling program in 2002, with meets and practices being held at Dows. This lasted until the CAL/Dows partnership ended and included one year of a shared CAL/Dows/Northeast Hamilton wrestling program being held at Dows.

Dows was a founding member of the North Star Conference and continued membership into the 1950s and early 1960s. Teams in the early years of the North Star Conference included Boone Valley (Renwick), Corwith-Wesley, Dows, Fertile, Franklin Consolidated (now CAL of Latimer), Goldfield, Kanawha, Klemme, LuVerne, Rockwell, Sheffield, and Ventura. Dows was a member of the Iowa River Valley Conference in the 1960s and 1970s, which included Alden, Dows, Gilbert, Hubbard, NESCO, Northeast Hamilton, Radcliffe, and Union-Whitten. In the late 1970s, Dows rejoined the North Star Conference, which over the years included Alden, CAL of Latimer (later CAL/Dows), Corwith-Wesley/LuVerne, Dows, Meservey-Thornton, Northeast Hamilton of Blairsburg, Sheffield-Chapin (later SCMT, now West Fork), Southeast Webster-Grand, Twin River Valley of Bode, Ventura, and Woden-Crystal Lake/Titonka. CAL/Dows High School continued to be a member of the North Star Conference until it dissolved in 2004. At that time CAL/Dows joined the Iowa Star Conference. Dows began whole grade sharing with Clarion-Goldfield in 2005 and consolidated to become Clarion-Goldfield-Dows in 2014. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows is a member of the North Central Conference, which currently includes Algona, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Clear Lake, Hampton-Dumont, Humboldt, Iowa Falls-Alden, St. Edmond Catholic (Fort Dodge), and Webster City.

Dows maintained a K-12 elementary program, with a community funded preschool program, until 1998. The last class to graduate from Dows High School was in 1998. In the fall of that same year, the district began a whole grade sharing agreement with CAL Community School of Latimer, IA that would last for the next seven years. Under the agreement, both Dows and CAL maintained separate elementary schools (K-5), the shared Dows/CAL Middle School (6-8) was housed at Dows, and the shared CAL/Dows High School was at Latimer. The districts shared a superintendent and several staff members.

In 2003 and 2004, much discussion was held about the future of the districts. Possibilities were discussed including a 3-way whole grade sharing agreement between Hampton-Dumont, CAL, and Dows; continuing or expanding 2-way sharing between CAL and Dows; and Dows beginning a 1-way whole grade sharing agreement with either Clarion-Goldfield, Belmond-Klemme, or CAL. After much discussion it was ultimately it was decided that Clarion-Goldfield would provide the best educational opportunities and stability for the long-term future of Dows area students. When the partnership with CAL Community School ended, CAL re-established itself as an independent P/K-12 school district. Initially, quite a few of the high school students that were already attending CAL open enrolled to finish attending school at CAL. Over time, as those classes graduated a vast majority of the Dows students were attending school in Clarion.

In 2005 the district began a ten-year whole grade sharing agreement with Clarion-Goldfield Community School District. Dows maintains its own separate P/K-5 elementary school and students in grades 6–12 attended school in Clarion. The districts also shared a superintendent, principal, and several other staff members.

In 2006, the district began the Tiger Learning Center (TLC), an after school program. In 2008, Dows Elementary School became a multi-age school that combines classrooms kindergarten and first grade, second and third grades, and fourth and fifth grades. Dows Elementary offered small class sizes that provide individualized attention and an academic program that can compete with any in the state. In 2008-09, the Dows Elementary School reported some of the highest Iowa Tests of Basic Skills results of any school in the state. The Dows district received a grant for the preschool program to be funded by the state in 2009-10. In 2013-14, the sharing agreement was expanded to include grades 4-12. The Dows Elementary School educated students in Dows for preschool through third grade for that year.

On September 10, 2013 voters in both districts approved consolidation into one district. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the Dows and Clarion-Goldfield districts became the Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Community School District. Thew new district covers 363 square miles in include portions of Wright, Franklin, Hancock, and Humboldt Counties, and stretches approximately 50 miles from the northwest corner near Renwick to the southeast corner near Dows. During the final year as an independent school district, the certified enrollment at Dows increased from 124 to 139. With the consolidation, the Dows building was closed in its centennial year of operation. All students will be bussed to Clarion for all classes and activities. The district sold the school building and bus barn to a company wanting to use it to warehouse pioneer seed. Some people in the community were unhappy, stating that they feel that there was no public involvement or communication in that decision. The playground and football/track/baseball complex were being given to the City of Dows to be maintained. The new district has a K-12 enrollment of nearly 1,000 students in grades K-12.

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, with a theme of "Preparing Students Today for Tomorrow", has a one-to-one laptop program for high school students and a one-to-one iPad program for middle school students. Since Dows began its partnership in 2005, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows has qualified for the Class 2A State Football Playoffs five times (2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014). Clarion-Goldfield-Dows won the State Wrestling Team Duals in 2014 and 2015. CGD has had two individual girls state track champions. CGD has had some very successful girls basketball and volleyball teams as well.

Dows Corn Days in 2014 was held as an all-school reunion. The school building was opened one last time for past alumni, students, teachers, staff, and community members to take one last look. The building was full of people reminiscing of years gone. The football field will be used to host a fireworks display at Dows Corn Days starting in 2015.


The Dows area is home to several churches. Located in town are the Abundant Life Chapel, Sovereign Grace Church, United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and First Lutheran Church. The United Methodist Church and the First Presbyterian Church share a pastor with the Alexander United Methodist Church and the three churches are known as the Dows-Alexander Yoked Parish. The First Lutheran Church shares their pastor with the First Lutheran Church in Clarion. The Sovereign Grace Church meets in the First Presbyterian Church and is an independent reformed church. Located six miles east of town is the Morgan Methodist Church. Also, southwest of town is the Vernon Lutheran Church, which no longer has services.

Dows Corn Days[edit]

The first weekend in August always marks a large celebration, the Dows Corn Days. The festivities include an impressive parade, entertainment in the park, food vendors, inflatable rides, several activities, and a community church service.

Rest Area/Travel Center[edit]

A new rest area was built near the interstate with a Civil War theme in 2003. The "Dows Junction" Travel Center includes a gas station/truck stop, convenience store, and fast food restaurant (Arby's). It will also promote the historical sites in Dows, just two miles (3 km) away. It is hoped the two projects along with the convention center and historical sites will encourage tourism and economic development.[9]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ Stuart, I. L. (1914). History of Franklin County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement, Volume 1. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. pp. 261–262. 
  5. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 109. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Globe Gazette". Retrieved 2012-10-24.