U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 11-17-2014, 01:42 AM
Status: "Trump - excepting Jorgensen, the least of multiple evils" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
13,826 posts, read 8,487,842 times
Reputation: 17894

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgg View Post
The biggest 2 reasons to me is that on the east edge of Iowa by the Mississippi it's just a short little jaunt to Chicago. It's just too close. One other reason that comes to mind is proximity to rail service. Even now, most of the very largest cities (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Waterloo, Sioux City come to mind) don't have access to any passenger train service. For some weird reason the only Amtrak in Iowa runs along the southern 1/3 of Iowa where there aren't any major cities.
The reason being that the Chicago-Denver service formerly offered by the Burlington used that route; in contrast to the Rock Island, Illinois Central and (at the time) the Chicago and North Western, it was well-maintained and adequately protected by a better signal system. Four daily Zephyrs (in each direction) used that route well into the 1960's.

The North Western was later acquired by the Union Pacific, and has been well-rehabilitated, but the UP has no interest in passenger service. The Rock Island became the Iowa Interstate, oriented toward local, rather than long-distance freight service.
Rate this post positively

 
Old 11-17-2014, 07:20 AM
 
231 posts, read 342,810 times
Reputation: 324
Kansas City's success was a direct result of its emergence as rail hub. Historically, it was the second biggest hub in the Midwest, after Chicago. It had a very centralized location within the US.

Minneapolis has the unique advantage of being located on the only major natural waterfall in the Upper Mississippi River (which includes the entire Iowa portion of the Mississippi River). The Saint Anthony Falls attracted big industry.

St. Louis, as others mentioned, benefited from being next to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Iowa, unfortunately, just never had an advantage quite like that. The cities existed mainly to fulfill the industrial and political needs of the farmers. Farmers needed mills and stockyards and they needed tools and machinery. They also needed courthouses, banks, and other institutions. Dubuque, the Quads, and etc. got an extra boost by having access to the commercial network of the Mississippi, but that alone wasn't enough to push those cities to the next level. To me, Davenport is Waterloo if Waterloo was on the Mississippi instead of the Cedar.

Iowa's only hope for a major national city was through deft political maneuvering. You'd have to have played your civic institutions to the hilt. Imagine, for example, if they'd have put Iowa State in Des Moines? Or left the capital in Iowa City? Or given either U of I or Iowa State to Davenport? Who knows?

Des Moines is doing a good job playing up its advantages as a state capital in the modern economy, but if it's ever going to emerge as a top 50 metro, it's going to have to be more aggressive. It needs something like Indianapolis' Unigov. It's also going to have to find a way to bring more higher education money into it, just as (again) Indy did.

Of course, that's all predicated on thinking it's critical that Des Moines becomes a top 50 metro. Des Moines is doing OK just as it is now. It doesn't HAVE to be a top 50 metro to do well for itself.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-17-2014, 08:00 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
16,682 posts, read 19,459,273 times
Reputation: 34529
As an outsider, what I find appealing about Iowa is the lack of a large central city to drain the qualities and resources of the smaller cities. So many states have a big urban pit with huge disparities and a hinterland of depressed, hollow cities where all the youth and talent are trying to escape to the one big metropolis. I hear good things about several Iowa cities.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-17-2014, 11:16 AM
 
137 posts, read 187,075 times
Reputation: 275
Because there is no city named Fort Raccoon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
Kansas City's success was a direct result of its emergence as rail hub. Historically, it was the second biggest hub in the Midwest, after Chicago. It had a very centralized location within the US.

Minneapolis has the unique advantage of being located on the only major natural waterfall in the Upper Mississippi River (which includes the entire Iowa portion of the Mississippi River). The Saint Anthony Falls attracted big industry.

St. Louis, as others mentioned, benefited from being next to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
The phrasing of the question presupposes that a major city just automatically pops up barring an external force opposing it. These examples remind that major cities usually only develop where there is some reason for them to do so. There are exceptions, of course, but it generally takes a good combination of natural resources and natural or man-made transportation routes. There's really nothing about Iowa's geography preventing a megalopolis, but it does not have any sites with factors such as these working in its favor. If US War Department had not overruled Captain Allen on naming the fort, perhaps things would be different.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-17-2014, 03:08 PM
 
205 posts, read 316,133 times
Reputation: 408
We do have a major city--it's called Omaha. Seriously, the first transcontinental railroad hooked up in Cedar Bluffs, which was Iowa's best historical shot at developing a major city hub. Someone more familiar with the terrain thereabouts or the history of railroad politics might have a better idea why the western side of the Missouri became the big urban sprawl rather than the eastern when the connection was officially on the Iowa side; I imagine it might have something to do with flatter land, or maybe there were lots of western spur railroads coming into Omaha and just the one trunk line coming into Cedar Falls.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-17-2014, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids
233 posts, read 305,051 times
Reputation: 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedibes View Post
We do have a major city--it's called Omaha. Seriously, the first transcontinental railroad hooked up in Cedar Bluffs, which was Iowa's best historical shot at developing a major city hub. Someone more familiar with the terrain thereabouts or the history of railroad politics might have a better idea why the western side of the Missouri became the big urban sprawl rather than the eastern when the connection was officially on the Iowa side; I imagine it might have something to do with flatter land, or maybe there were lots of western spur railroads coming into Omaha and just the one trunk line coming into Cedar Falls.
Omaha is a very important city! I agree. However most people don't consider Omaha an established national city. Most locals probably consider Omaha and Des Moines on the same tier as a city like Wichita, Madison, or Grand Rapids.

Thanks for all of the input you guys! A lot of what you are saying sort of clarifies reasons the reasons why - it really does seem to be that most of Iowa's cities were built on food processing and farm manufacturing, with great exception of course.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-17-2014, 04:14 PM
 
231 posts, read 342,810 times
Reputation: 324
Omaha was a HUGE meatpacking center. It was at the starting point of the Union Pacific Railroad, the first railroad to link the Eastern and Western US. That was its big strategic advantage. Council Bluffs very well could've taken Omaha's spot in our country;s history, but for whatever reason it was outmaneuvered by Nebraska. So that would be another identifiable blow to the prospects urban Iowa and seemed to force the state into hedging its bets on the northeastern portion of the state. Souix City was just a bit too far north to become a major city.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-19-2014, 05:36 PM
 
387 posts, read 550,291 times
Reputation: 473
Quote:
Originally Posted by burrrrr View Post
That would explain why the Quad Cities and Des Moines were always neck and neck with population until more recent times, as well as why the Quad Cities has a more substantial interstate system than Des Moines.
Des Moines has I-80 and I-35 which are two of the busiest highways in the country. The Quad Cities has I-80, but the other two (I-88 and I-74) are not major connectors to the rest of the country. In fact, 88 ends in Chicago and 74 doesn't go any further than Cincinnati.

The QC is just closer to more population centers than Des Moines, which is why more highway infrastructure exists there. It has little or nothing to do with population growth patterns.
Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-19-2014, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids
233 posts, read 305,051 times
Reputation: 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by funksoulbro View Post
Des Moines has I-80 and I-35 which are two of the busiest highways in the country. The Quad Cities has I-80, but the other two (I-88 and I-74) are not major connectors to the rest of the country. In fact, 88 ends in Chicago and 74 doesn't go any further than Cincinnati.

The QC is just closer to more population centers than Des Moines, which is why more highway infrastructure exists there. It has little or nothing to do with population growth patterns.
In addition to I-88, 74, and 80 the QC also has it's own interstate spur going around half of the metro area with I-280. Anyone can see that the QC has twice as many interstates as Des Moines, regardless of being closer to large cities or not, and regardless of their length. By sheer fact the immediate area has a better interstate infrastructure than Des Moines in South-Central Iowa.

Also, I'm curious where you would get your information that I-35 in Iowa is really that significant in the grand scheme of things. While I-74 does not span an entire width of the nation - it does most definitely link up DIRECTLY to literally dozens of much higher volume interstates than I-35, which is really at it's peak way down in Texas. Outside of Texas, I-35 only hits 3 very separated major cities, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. Other than it's importance in grain, cattle, and hog industries - the value of I-35 still remains largely symbolic as a "vertical I-80." I know religious claims have been made about I-35 that we will not get in to.

When looking at historical infrastructure, and waterways, the Quad Cities always had the upper hand on Des Moines. The recent modern growth of Des Moines is irrelevant when considering a time period when places like St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Indianapolis were at a dawn of their own booming ages (which is the time period we have been focusing on) and Iowa missed out. Until recent times - the Quad Cities and Des Moines were basically looked at neck and neck in size, politics aside.

Rate this post positively
 
Old 11-19-2014, 07:57 PM
 
387 posts, read 550,291 times
Reputation: 473
Quote:
Originally Posted by burrrrr View Post
In addition to I-88, 74, and 80 the QC also has it's own interstate spur going around half of the metro area with I-280. Anyone can see that the QC has twice as many interstates as Des Moines, regardless of being closer to large cities or not, and regardless of their length.
And Des Moines has the I-235 spur in addition to I-80 and I-35. So, the score card shows the QC with 4 interstate routes and Des Moines with 3.

3 times 2 does not equal four. Your math is a little off tonight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burrrrr View Post
Until recent times - the Quad Cities and Des Moines were basically looked at neck and neck in size, politics aside.
Yeah, and then the Quad City economy collapsed while Des Moines' picked up even more momentum. What's your point? Neither area is going to be a major city in the next several decades. The city of Des Moines has run out of space to grow and the Quad Cities has been stagnant for decades. Des Moines will keep relying on suburban sprawl to boost its population. It'll be a long time, if ever, before Des Moines (city) has the same population as Fort Wayne, Indiana. Few people would consider Fort Wayne a major American city.

What difference does it make if Iowa has a major city or not? It's still a state based primarily on rural agriculture. So what.
Rate this post positively
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 

Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top