Story City offers the best of small town life while being only minutes away from a university city. This small town with Scandinavian ancestry offers many attractions like great dining, shopping, services, and recreation. Jobs, industry, housing, parks, and a great school system explain why Story City residents enjoy such a high quality of life.
Story City is located on highway E15 just west off of Interstate 35 and east from US 69. It is just 11 miles north of Ames and around 40 miles away from the state capital of Des Moines. Story City is centrally located in Iowa and easy to get to and from.
A Union Pacific railroad runs from north to south through Story City and is primarily used for agriculture. Des Moines International Airport and Fort Dodge Regional Airport are 47 miles away. Ames Municipal Airport and Drake Airport located in Radcliffe are both just 15 miles away.
Early settlers primarily from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden came to the area of central Iowa in the 1850s, with the first sod home constructed near the Chicaque River (later renamed the Skunk River). Originally called Fairview, Story City owed its growth and initial settlement to the arrival of the railroad & Norwegian immigrants. By 1855 the area was seen as an ideal location for a town, and in 1857, was named Story City after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story.
There are three schools in Story City, Roland-Story Elementary, Middle and High School serving its 1200 students. There are 75 teachers in the district with a low student to teacher ratio of only 15 students to 1 staff member. The average test scores on the Iowa Test for Basic Skills (ITBS) for fourth grade students was 87% for reading and math. Nearby Ames affords opportunities for higher education including Iowa State University.
Country United States
- Mayor Mike Jensen
- Total 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km©÷)
- Land 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km©÷)
- Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km©÷)
Elevation 1,001 ft (305 m)
- Total 3,431
- Density 1,353/sq mi (3,504/km©÷)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
- Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 50248
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 19-75675
GNIS feature ID 0462019
Story City is a city in Story County, Iowa, United States. Story City is located within the 'Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area' which envelops all of the Story County, Iowa community and which, when held in conjunction with the 'Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area', complements the larger 'Ames-Boone, Iowa Combined Statistical Area.' The population was 3,228 at the 2000 census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,228 people, 1,321 households, and 816 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,334.1 people per square mile (515.0/km©÷). There were 1,377 housing units at an average density of 569.1/sq mi (219.7/km©÷). The racial makeup of the city was 98.76% White, 0.28% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.43% of the population.
There were 1,321 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 24.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,275, and the median income for a family was $51,493. Males had a median income of $33,500 versus $21,161 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,345. About 3.9% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
About Story City
Story City is located approximately 15 miles north of Ames, IA. American Packaging and EBY are major employers in Story City. The town had a major Pella Windows manufacturing operation until early 2008 when the factory shut down, shortly after 10 year tax benefit package ended. Many residents also travel to Ames to work which is home to large employers like Iowa State University and the National Animal Disease Center.
The city is immediately adjacent to Interstate 35 and has services for travelers including food, lodging and a taste of middle America with Scandinavian flair. Downtown also is home of one of Iowa's E85 (Ethanol) gas stations, allowing environmentally and energy conscious travelers to fuel up their alternative energy vehicles. Story City is located at the western boundary of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
Story City is the home of the Roland-Story Senior High School. Roland-Story High School's athletic teams are known as "The Norsemen" and participate in IHSAA level 2A sports.
Story City is also home to the annual Scandinavian Days celebration. The event occurs in the first week of June and features live music with a beer garden, rides and games, and participants find themselves in an immersion of Nordic culture in the form of food and arts.
Downtown Story City is a commercial district offering full-featured services and products.
A 1913 antique carousel is located adjacent to the high school and community pool. It is open from the Memorial Day Holiday (US) to the Labor Day Holiday (US).
The Story City Park is situated along the banks of the Skunk River, one of Iowa's recreational water trails. It is the starting point for the Skunk River Canoe Trailproviding tubing, canoeing and kayaking opportunities, with new portage points and rapids. City Park is also home to a historic Works Progress Administration suspended bridge. The Skunk River Greenbelt Trail system begins just south of Story City immediately off of Interstate 35 on County Road E-18.
History and Culture
Story City was throughout much of its early history known as Fairview. The named changed in 1857 when the town established a post office and discovered that Fairview was taken else where. The boundaries of "Old Fairview" are outlined by signs during Scandinavian Days, and is approximately in the northeast corner of current Story City with the southern boundary being Broad Street.
Story City was laid out to include Fairview in 1878, and officially incorporated in 1881. The railroad arrived in 1878 and connected the city to Ames by the narrow-gauge Des Moines & Minnesota and to Des Moines via the Chicago & Northwestern lines in Ames.
The City has deep historic and cultural ties to the Scandinavian countries of northern Europe of Denmark, Sweden, and predominately Norway. A large contingent of the City's current population is descended from a major immigration of people from Nordic countries in the 1840s through 1860s. This is evident in the large number of Lutheran churches in the community, which historically had sermons in different languages (Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian) respective of the makeup of their congregations.
The Nordic traditions of the community are evident in some of ethnic foods of the area. Popular and frequently served food items around Story City include:
- Kumla, potato dumpling made from finely cut potatoes mixed with flour, and typically served with boiled ham, ham broth, and plenty of butter.
- Hank Severeid, Major League Baseball catcher