Iowa State University Marks 100 Years Since State Parks Founded By Law

AMES, Iowa  --  A new exhibit has opened to mark the 100th anniversary of Iowa Park System legislation passing in 1917.

The exhibit contains photos, timelines, and architectural designs for some of the early signs and shelters.

“After 1917 when they passed the State Parks Act, Louis Pammel approached the ISU landscape architecture department to be involved in the design of the parks,” said Heidi Hohmann of the ISU College of Design. She has researched the history of the first designers of Iowa State Park systems. “We need to be able to provide access to the parks while protecting the natural resources inside of them.”

Hohmann discovered Iowa State landscape designers were influencing park design back 100 years ago, while she worked on a national park project in Oklahoma.

“To think about what the best place to put the road was to provide access, to provide scenic views when you were coming in, and also prevent people from trammeling over the key historic or natural resources or geological features that existed in the park,” said Hohmann. “Having done this research, I'm really excited about trying to get out and see the rest of the parks, there a lot of little hidden gems.”

Hohmann worked with the ISU Parks Library on a display of photos and timelines of the early days of Iowa State parks. This will be on display through the end of 2017.