Story City, a proud Main Street Community, celebrates the Scandinavian heritage of many of its original settlers while welcoming newcomers from across the globe. This small town north of Ames in Story County is part of the Ames Metro area and has a population of about 3,300. Attractions include the Antique Carousel, the Story City Museum, and the River Bend Golf Course. Story City offers residents the best of Iowa small town life within a short drive of the amenities of a bigger city.
Story City has two trails available for recreation, the E-18 & Skunk River Greenbelt Trail and the Story City Park Loop. Story City residents have access to the HIRTA public transit, but there is no bus service. The average one-way commute for Story City residents is 21.9 minutes, compared to the national average of 26.4 minutes.
It takes a lot of community engagement and civic pride to earn a Main Street Community designation, and Story City exemplifies this ethic. Many of today’s residents are descended from Scandinavian immigrants, as evidenced by the many Lutheran congregations in town and several of the community celebrations such as Yulefest in winter and Scandinavian Days in summer. There is a beautiful downtown area as well as a secondary business district along the interstate that offers many goods and services that residents may need. Story City is served by the Roland-Story School District.
Story City was originally called Fairview until 1881, when the town established a post office and wanted to incorporate but learned the name was already used by another town. So, it was decided to name the town after Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story instead. From the 1840s to the 1860s, there was a major influx of immigrants from the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, and especially Norway. For a time, there were several Lutheran churches in town with ministers who preached in either Swedish, Danish, or Norwegian, depending on their congregations. Many residents of the area today are descended from these Nordic newcomers.
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