Photographic book

Iowa from 1900 to 1945


Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt

Seventy-five percent of Iowans lived in rural areas in 1900, but the farm population declined as new machinery reduced the need for farm labor, and by 1940 only 57 percent of Iowans lived in rural areas. The prices that farmers paid for manufactured goods began matching the prices that farmers received for their products in the first two decades of the 20th century, and farm life saw some improvements. Many farm neighborhoods organized their own cooperative telephone systems and strung their own telephone lines. Automobiles, particularly the Ford Model T, did much to reduce the isolation of farm families. Improved transportation allowed many more farm children to attend high schools in neighboring towns, and schools were reorganized across the state following World War I. The demand for good roads also rapidly increased in a state where spring thaws and rains frequently made dirt roads nearly impassable for days at a time.

Many Iowa small towns built their own electrical plants in the 1890s, and town homes were the first to enjoy electric lights, appliances, and indoor plumbing. Because of the expense of electrical lines that served rural customers, farm families rarely had electrical service, and only after the creation of the federal Rural Electrification Administration in 1936 did electrical power begin to reach the farms. In some areas, the demand for copper wire in World War II (1939-1945) and the shortage of labor in rural areas postponed rural electrification until the late 1940s. "Iowa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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