Granger is located just south of the geographic center of Iowa in Dallas and Polk Counties and is part of the Greater Des Moines Metro. Home to Jester Park and the iconic ‘HOT’ and ‘COLD’ water towers, Granger has a population of just under 2000 people, and is a thriving and friendly place to call home with lots of great restaurants and shops. Residents can enjoy all the perks of a small town without missing any of the amenities offered by the nearby metro. Surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, Granger attractions also include a city Golf Course, the Jester Park Equestrian Center that offers trail ready horses and miles of trails to ride them on, and nearby Saylorville Lake.
Granger residents are within 10 minutes of the trail head of the High Trestle Trail which extends for 25 miles through wooded areas and across the Des Moines River. There are also walking paths at Centennial and Windcrest Parks. Granger’s small size makes it accessible for pedestrians, although most residents use a car for errands. The average one-way commute for Granger residents is 27.4 minutes, as compared to the national average of 26.4.
Surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, Granger attractions also include a city Golf Course, the Jester Park Equestrian Center that offers trail ready horses and miles of trails to ride them on, and nearby Saylorville Lake. Granger is served by the Woodward-Granger Community School District with a small area served by the Johnston Community Schools.
The area around Granger was once coal mining country, with 7 mines in a 10 mile radius employing hundreds of miners from several countries, including many from Italy. In 1908, a traveling circus was started by Granger resident Fred Buchanan and named the Yankee Robinson Show. At this time, traveling circuses were a big attraction, and the Yankee Robinson Show soon became a leader among the mid-sized circuses travelling around the Midwest, and overwintered at Buchanan’s homestead near Granger. At its height, the circus grounds had 20 buildings and was a favorite destination for visitors from Des Moines who watched the circus preparing for the summer tour. The circus came to an end in the 1930s, as the Great Depression took hold, and the winter quarters were abandoned, leaving empty buildings and the only elephant graveyard in Iowa. Another remarkable chapter in the town’s history is the Granger Subsistence Homesteads project that provided 50 properties with a house and enough land to produce food for a family which was launched in 1935 and supported by local Monsignor Luigi Liguitti, who believed coal camps were an unsuitable environment for children. The Granger Homesteads were one of the earliest realizations of the New Deal public-supported housing initiatives.
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