Ames, IowaMain Street in downtown Ames in 2006 Location in the State of IowaCoordinates: 42°1′38″N 93°37′54″W / 42.02722, -93.63167CountryUnited StatesStateIowaCountyStoryIncorporated1864 Government - MayorAnn Campbell Area - City21.58 sq mi (55.9 km²) - Land 21.57 sq mi (55.9 km²) - Water 0.01 sq mi (0.0 km²) Elevation942 ft(287 m) Population (2006) - City51,557 - Density2,390.2/sq mi (908.2/km²) - Metro80,145 Time zoneCST(UTC-6) - Summer (DST) CDT(UTC-7) ZIP codes50010-50014 Area code(s)515FIPS code19-01855 GNISfeature ID 0454167 Website: http://www.city.ames.ia.us/
Ames is a city located in the central part of the U.S. state of Iowa, and is approximately 30 miles north of Des Moines in Story County. It is the principal city of the 'Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area' which encompasses all of Story County, Iowa and which, when combined with the 'Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area', comprises the larger 'Ames-Boone, Iowa Combined Statistical Area'. As of the 2000 Census, the city population was 50,731. While Ames is the largest city in Story County, the county seat is in Nevada which is 8 miles east of Ames. Ames is the home of Iowa State University, with leading Design, Engineering, Science and Agriculture colleges. It is also the site of the Ames Straw Poll, an important straw poll in the Republican party presidential nomination process as well as the first in the nation Democratic and Republican caucuses (see Politics, below).
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Politics
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Economy
- 7 Campustown
- 8 Somerset
- 9 Medical
- 10 Points of interest
- 11 People
- 12 External links
The city was founded in 1864 as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad and was named after 19th century U.S. congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, who was influential in the building of the transcontinental railroad. Ames was founded near a location that was deemed favorable for a railroad crossing of the Skunk River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.6 square miles (55.9 km²), of which, 21.6 square miles (55.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.09%) is water.
DemographicsCity of Ames' coal power plant at night
As of the 2000 Census, there were 50,731 people, 18,085 households, and 8,970 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,352.3 people per square mile (908.1/km²). There were 18,757 housing units at an average density of 869.7/sq mi (335.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.34% White, 7.70% Asian, 2.65% African American, Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.76% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.98% of the population.
There were 18,085 households out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 40.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 13.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 109.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,042, and the median income for a family was $56,439. Males had a median income of $37,877 versus $28,198 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,881. About 7.6% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
A large number of Ames residents are university students. In 2004, for example, there were 26,390 students enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames.
Iowa is a "battleground state" that has trended slightly Democratic in recent years, but Ames, like Iowa City, trends Democratic, partly due to the presence of the university community. Because Iowa is the first caucus state and Ames is a college town, it is the site of many political appearances, debates and events, especially during election years.
During every August in which the Republican presidential nomination is undecided (meaning there is no incumbent Republican president -- as in, most recently, 2007, 1999, 1995 and 1987), the town plays host to the Ames Straw Poll, which gauges support for the various Republican candidates amongst attendees of a fundraising dinner benefiting the Iowa Republican Party. The straw poll dates back to 1979, and is frequently seen as a first test of organizational strength in Iowa by the national media and party insiders; as such, it can be very beneficial for a candidate to win the straw poll and thus enhance his aura of inevitability or show off a superior field operation. 
The town is served by US Highways 30 and 69 and Interstate 35. Ames is the only town in Iowa with a population of greater than 50,000 that does not have a state highway serving it.
Ames was also serviced by the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern Railroad via a branch from Kelly to Iowa State University and to downtown Ames. The tracks were removed in the 1960s. The Chicago and Northwestern used to operate a branch to Des Moines. This line was removed in the 1980s when the Spine Line though Nevada was purchased from the Rock Island Railroad after its bankruptcy. The Union Pacific, successor to the C&NW, still runs 60-70 trains a day through the ISU campus and downtown Ames on twin mainlines which leads to some traffic delays. There is also a branch to Eagle Grove that leaves Ames to the north. The Union Pacific maintains a small yard called Ames Yard east of Ames between Ames and Nevada.
There is also a municipal airport, KAMW, southeast of Ames. The airport is currently operated by only one FBO, Hap's Air Service. The City of Ames offers a transit system throughout town called "Cy-Ride" that is funded jointly by Iowa State University, the ISU Government of the Student Body, and the City of Ames.
Ames is home of Iowa State University of Science & Technology, a space grant college, at its founding, the state's (Morrill Act) land-grant university, formerly known as the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Ames is the home of the closely allied U.S Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center, the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory (a major materials research and development facility) and the main offices of the Iowa State Department of Transportation. State and Federal institutions are the largest employers in Ames.
CampustownCafé Beaudelaire in Campustown Leedzsalon in Campustown
Campustown is the neighborhood directly south of Iowa State University Central Campus bordered by Lincoln Way on the north. Campustown is a high-density mixed-use neighborhood that is home to many student apartments, nightlife venues, restaurants, Varsity Theater, and numerous other establishments.
Somerset is a semi-new-urbanist development in Ames.Brick residences in Somerset
Ames is served by Mary Greeley Medical Center, a 220-bed regional referral hospital which is adjacent to McFarland Clinic PC: central Iowa's largest physician-owned multi-specialty clinic and also Iowa Heart Center.
Ames is also the home of the National Animal Disease Center where all American Mad Cow Disease samples are tested among other things.
Points of interest
- Ames High School
- Iowa State University
- Reiman Gardens
- Jack Trice Stadium
- Ames Middle School
- Brunnier Art Museum
- Hilton Coliseum
- Cornerstone Church of Ames
- North Grand Mall
- Ada Hayden Park
- Kate Austen, Fictional Character from the ABC's Lost (TV Series), lived in Ames, Iowa
- Howard Bannister, Fictional character from What's Up Doc? lived in Ames, Iowa and worked at the Conservatory of Music.
- John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry invented the world's first electronic digital computer  at Iowa State University from 1937-42
- George Washington Carver, Inventor, was an alumnus and a professor at ISU
- Carrie Chapman Catt, women's rights activist, ISU graduate
- Laurel Blair Salton Clark, astronaut, died on STS-107
- John Darnielle, musician from indie rock band The Mountain Goats, a former Ames resident
- David M. Dobson, creator of Snood (video game), grew up in Ames, Iowa
- Charles W. "Chuck" Durham, civil engineer, philanthropist, civic leader and former CEO and Chairman Emeritus of HDR, Inc, raised in Ames and three-time graduate of Iowa State.
- Fred Hoiberg, Retired NBA basketball player, raised in Ames and ISU graduate
- Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, was raised in Ames, Iowa and attended Iowa State University
- Ministry of Magic, an electronica/pop wizard rock band that was formed in Ames, Iowa
- Sara Paretsky, Author, was born in Ames, Iowa
- Cael Sanderson, Olympic Gold Medalist, Iowa State University wrestling coach and collegiate wrestler
- Peter Schickele, Musician, was born in Ames, Iowa
- Brian Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning Photographer grew up in Ames, Iowa
- Neal Stephenson, Author, grew up in Ames, Iowa
- Billy Sunday, evangelist and major league baseball player, born in Ames
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