The college town of Ames was platted after the Civil War, in 1865. Its slightly rolling prairie site was situated between the Skunk River to the east and Ioway Creek (formerly Squaw Creek) to the west. In 1874 Ames was connected by rail to Des Moines; by 1900 it had become a crossroads for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. The community's principal activities center around Iowa State University. This institution was established just west of Ames in 1859, and it was first designated as the State Agricultural College. As the authors of the 1938 WPA guide to Iowa pointed out, the area around the college emerged as one town, and then to the east was Ames itself.3 More recently the newer residential sections north of Thirteenth Street have begun to merge the two rather distinct communities. The devotees of Fowler and the octagonal mode of building will be disappointed to find that Dr. Samuel J. Starr's octagon house of 1870, once located at 126 Sumner Street, is now gone.
Works Project Administration (Federal Writers Program), Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State, 169.
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