Ames

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Summary

Located almost in the geographic center of Iowa, about 30 miles north of the Des Moines Metro area, Ames lies on the western edge of Story County at the intersection of Interstate 34 and US Route 30. Home to Iowa State University, a leading center for agriculture, design, engineering, and veterinary medicine, Ames also has several major employers such as Barilla, 3M, and Workiva, as well as a range of important agricultural research installations run by the USDA and other government entities. Four distinct business districts give Ames plenty of options for shopping and dining, and the Arts are celebrated with numerous venues from the Octagon Center for the Arts to Stephens Auditorium and loads of student and local theater and music productions in between. Residents who come to Ames for the diverse employment opportunities stay for the small-town feel, shopping, entertainment, family activities, beautiful countryside, and the overall exceptional quality of life.

Transportation

Ames offers trail enthusiasts over 55 miles of trails including the loop at the Ada Hayden Heritage Park, Peggy’s Trail, and the Audubon Trail, to name just a few. Ames is rated somewhat walkable as some errands can be completed on foot, although most residents use a car for most errands. CyRide Transportation provides a range of public transportation services in Ames in collaboration with Iowa State University. The average one-way commute for Ames residents is 19.2 minutes, shorter than the national average of 26.4, and 79% of commuters drive to work.

Activity & Entertainment

Ames is a college town that blends the best of the Midwest with global influences into one great place to live, learn, work, and play. The Ames music and entertainment scene is flourishing with everything from Broadway shows to live music in local venues. College sports is a big focus and fans from across the country enjoy games in Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium. Ames also has a great selection of restaurants, brew pubs, and taverns, sure to appeal to every taste. For those who love the outdoors, there are three golf courses; the Ada Hayden Heritage Park has a beautiful recreational lake and miles of paths for walking and biking; and Reiman Gardens features an outdoor botanical park. Families enjoy the Furman Aquatic Center, Seven Oaks Recreation, a year-round recreation destination for skiing, water sports and more, and the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad.

History

Story County and the area around Ames was first settled by European Americans in the 1840s. In the 1860s, land was acquired for the Iowa Agricultural College and Experimental Farm, which opened in 1869 and would become Iowa State University, serving about 30,000 students from all over the world. Also, during the 1860s, land was secured for the railroad by Cynthia Duff, an early settler. The town of Ames was platted in 1865 and incorporated in 1870 with a population of around 800 residents who had collected around the railroad stop there. The original plat had 12 blocks extending from the railroad north to Ninth Street, and from Duff Avenue in the east to Burnett Avenue in the west.


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