by Brian Buethe, President | CEO, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development
January Newsletter Article
As a transplant to the state, I don’t consider myself to me a great student of Iowa history. However, in the time I have spent here, I’ve always been curious to learn about how communities were established and how they came to their current situation. I’ll speak in generalizations, as each of Iowa’s 944 incorporated cities will have their own specific story.
The majority of Iowa Cities were established in the late 19th Century. Quite a few were incorporated in the early 20th Century, but there have been only ten in the last 50 years. One of the youngest communities in Iowa is Grimes’ neighbor to the east; Johnston celebrated their 50th anniversary of being an official City just this past year. Farmington, in Van Buren County, is reported to be the oldest existing city in Iowa. They were established in January of 1841, just shy of six years before Iowa became the 29th state in the Union. Grimes was incorporated in 1894.
Regardless of the community, you can look up historic census data and make some conclusions as to when each of these communities had their heyday. You can see when communities grew and, in many cases, when they had population declines. Grimes, for most of its history, was a relatively small community. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1970’s that Grimes could claim more than 1,000 residents. However, for the past 40 years, the community’s population has seen substantial growth.
The title of this article is “It Was a Good Decade for Grimes”, and certainly it was when we consider that when the decade began, there were 8,246 people in Grimes and it is now estimated that there are roughly 14-15,000 people living here today. With that growth came other good things, including more businesses, more families, more homes, more relationships, more churches, more charitable organizations, more schools, more jobs, enhanced parks, more recreational trails, etc.
Growth also has challenges (i.e. more traffic), but compared to most of those 944 cities across our beautiful state, only a handful can claim the successes that Grimes has experienced in the past ten years. As we look to the future, we at Grimes Chamber & Economic Development encourages all of our Members and the public at large to consider what we can do together to ensure that the community not only grows in the future, but more importantly improves. Get to know one another, do business with one another, talk to one another, engage in meaningful conversations, and go to public events and meetings.
If you, your family, and/or your business truly engage in local institutions and support one another, the next decade will be another one for the record books.