Le Mars, Iowa
Le Mars, Iowa
"Ice Cream Capital Of The World"
Location of Le Mars within County and State
U.S. Census Map
|• Mayor||Dick Kirchoff|
|• Total||8.97 sq mi (23.23 km2)|
|• Land||8.96 sq mi (23.21 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)|
|Elevation||1,234 ft (376 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,097/sq mi (423.4/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0458255|
Le Mars // is the county seat of Plymouth County, Iowa, United States. It is located on the Floyd River northeast of Sioux City. The population was 9,826 at the 2010 census. Le Mars is part of the Sioux City metropolitan area.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Education
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Notable Places
- 7 Notable People
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Le Mars was platted in 1869, but no lots were sold until the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company arrived in 1879. According to town legend, CNW investor John I. Blair and a group of women arrived at the town, which was then called St. Paul Junction. Blair asked the women to name the town, and they submitted an acronym based upon their first names' initials: Lucy Underhill, Elizabeth Parson, Mary Weare, Anna Blair, Rebecca Smith and Sarah Reynolds.
During the Great Depression in 1933, at a time when banks were foreclosing on many farmers, Le Mars caught the attention of the nation when "over five hundred farmers crowded the court room in Le Mars", according to an account by historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.. The farmers were there to demand that Judge Charles C. Bradley suspend foreclosure proceedings until recently passed laws could be considered. Judge Bradley refused. One farmer remarked that the court room wasn't his alone, that farmers had paid for it with their taxes. The crowd rushed the judge, slapped him, and placed a rope around his neck and a hub cap on his head. They did not, however lynch him.
President George W. Bush came to Le Mars on November 3, 2006, to campaign for Jim Nussle, then candidate for Iowa governor, as well as Rep. Steve King. He spoke at Le Mars Community High School to a crowd of over 2500 people. Le Mars is a popular stop for presidential candidates as they make their way across caucus-famous Iowa, and has been visited by nearly every presidential candidate over the past several elections including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, etc.
Fred H. Wells opened a milk route in Le Mars in 1913. By 1925, Wells and his sons had opened an ice cream manufacturing plant there. However, the plant (and the Wells name) was purchased by Fairmount Ice Cream in 1928. In 1935, Fred and his sons sought to begin selling ice cream again, but could no longer use their name. They therefore sponsored a “Name That Ice Cream” contest in the Sioux City Journal. The winner of the $25 prize suggested "Blue Bunny" because his son had enjoyed seeing blue bunnies in department store windows at Easter.
Dominating the skyline of present-day Le Mars is Wells' Blue Bunny Dairy's 900,000-square-foot (84,000 m2) plant with a 12-story tall refrigeration tower called the "South Ice Cream Plant" - so-named because it is on the south side of town. As of 2005, the plant employed 1,000 and produces 75 million gallons of frozen treats, the milk coming mainly coming from three large Iowa dairy farms. The size of this plant has led to speculation that the company is the world's largest family-owned and managed dairy processor and the world's largest manufacturer of ice cream in one location, with Le Mars claiming to be the "Ice Cream Capital of the World".
Wells is best known for its various sweet products, including Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop, Blue Ribbon, and Chilly Cow. To showcase its sweet treats, Le Mars has an ice cream parlor, which was remodeled in 2019, and includes an old fashioned ice cream serving station, museum displays, roof-top seating, and gift shop. The ice cream parlor in Le Mars is one of the largest tourist attractions in the state of Iowa. Le Mars hosts an annual celebration "Ice Cream Days" every year in late June which includes many activities such as ice cream socials, concerts, art exhibitions, parades, and more.
Le Mars is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.97 square miles (23.23 km2), of which 8.96 square miles (23.21 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.(42.788799, -96.165944).
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Le Mars is a part of the Sioux City metropolitan area.
As of the census of 2015, there were 9,436 people, 4,013 households, and 2,593 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,096.7 inhabitants per square mile (423.4/km2). There were 4,220 housing units at an average density of 471.0 per square mile (181.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.5% White, 0.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 2.9% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.4% of the population.
There were 4,013 households of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.4% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.00.
The median age in the city was 39.2 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.5% were from 25 to 44; 26.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,237 people, 3,640 households, and 2,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,356.9 people per square mile (523.7/km²). There were 3,818 housing units at an average density of 560.9 per square mile (216.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.24% White, 0.45% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.94% from other races, and 0.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.44% of the population.
There were 3,640 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.05.
Age spread: 27.2% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,892, and the median income for a family was $47,409. Males had a median income of $35,936 versus $21,757 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,598. About 4.5% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
Le Mars is home to two educational institutions, one public and one private.
Le Mars Community Schools
Le Mars Community is a public school serving over 2,000 students grades PK-12. Le Mars Community, known locally as "Community", has a mascot of a bulldog. Le Mars was a member of the Lakes Conference until July 2019, when it switched to the Missouri River Conference.
Clark Elementary School (K-5)
Franklin Elementary School (K-5)
Kluckhohn Elementary School (K-5)
Middle School -
Le Mars Community Middle School (6-8)
High School -
Le Mars Community High School (9-12)
Alternative Education -
Individualized Learning Center
Gehlen Catholic Schools
Gehlen Catholic is a private school associated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City serving over 350 students in grades PK-12. Gehlen Catholic's mascot is a jay. Gehlen Catholic is a member of the War Eagle Conference.
Gehlen Catholic Elementary School
Gehlen Catholic Middle School
High School -
Gehlen Catholic High School
US Highway 75 runs north-south through the city of Le Mars.
Iowa State Highway 3 runs east-west through the city of Le Mars.
Iowa State Highway 60 begins on the north edge of Le Mars and continues northeast to the Minnesota border.
- Archie's Waeside is a steakhouse restaurant known across the nation for its dry-aged beef steaks and impressive wine list. Archie's was named the 2nd best steak house in America by Rachel Ray Magazine. In 2015, Archie's Waeside was awarded the James Beard Foundation's 2015 America's Classics Awards. Archies has won many other awards from various culinary-focused organizations.
- The Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor is located in downtown Le Mars. It was remodeled inside and out n 2018-2019. It offers an old-fashioned serving station, seating, interactive displays, roof-top seating, party room, and gift shop. According to their website, "you can expect nothing less than a tasty, interactive experience—with lots of ice cream, of course!" The Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iowa.
- Bob's Drive Inn is a popular local restaurant serving classic taverns and hotdogs, among other iconic "drive in" items. Bob's Drive Inn has won many awards, including "Best Hot Dog in Iowa" by People's Magazine. Due to Bob's Drive Inn's success locally, another location was opened in Arnolds Park, Iowa, a popular summer destination on Lake Okoboji.
- Plymouth County Courthouse
- St. George's Episcopal Church
- Tonsfeldt Round Barn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- Westmar University A private four-year liberal arts college that permanently closed on November 21, 1997.
- Wells Enterprises
- Le Mars Public Library
- Plymouth Roller Milling Company
- Clarence E. Coe, pioneer of Palms, California and member of the Los Angeles, California, City Council, born in Le Mars
- Bruce Dreckman, umpire in Major League Baseball
- Albert W. Durley, Wisconsin State Assemblyman and lawyer
- John Gregory Kelly, Roman Catholic bishop
- Clyde Kluckhohn, Harvard professor in Social Anthropology, born in Le Mars
- Keith Knudsen, drummer for the Doobie Brothers
- Jim Nicholson, former Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Republican Party Chairman
- Donald Paulin, Iowa state legislator, mayor of Le Mars, and businessman
- Nancy Jo Powell, former United States ambassador
- Paul Rust, star of I Love You, Beth Cooper and Love (TV series)
- Roger C. Schultz, United States Army Lieutenant General and Director of the Army National Guard
- John Spenkelink, first person involuntarily executed in the United States after the re-introduction of the death penalty
- Charles A. Spring, influential Presbyterian, son of Revolutionary War chaplain Samuel Spring
- Thomas Starzl, innovator in organ transplant surgery
- Isaac S. Struble, congressman and namesake of Struble, Iowa
- Jordan A. Jensen, Lakes Conference Champion in Wrestling
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- Cite error: The named reference
2018 Population Estimateswas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Horace A. Laffaye, Polo in Britain: A History, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012, p. 70
- Curtis Harnack, Gentlemen on the Prairie: Victorians in Pioneer Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2011 p. 138
- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Coming of the New Deal, Houghton Mifflin, 5th printing, 1958, pages 42-43.
- "President Bush to be in Le Mars on Friday". Le Mars Daily Sentinel, Horlyk, Earl, Published on October 30, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
- "Bush rallies the party faithful in Le Mars". Le Mars Daily Sentinel, Horlyk, Earl, Published on November 6, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
- The big chill: Wells' Dairy's South Ice Cream Plant dominates the world of frozen dessert production - Allbusiness.com - January 1, 2005
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
- https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk. Missing or empty
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- L, Magdalene; egent (February 17, 2009). "Perfect cut: Archie's Waeside ranked one of top U.S. steakhouses". Le Mars Daily Sentinel. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
- "2015 America's Classics: Archie's Waeside | James Beard Foundation". www.jamesbeard.org. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
- Team, Klem Web (May 24, 2018). "People Magazine Names Bob's Drive-In As Best Hot Dog In Iowa". KLEM 1410. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
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