Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
State Historical Society of Iowa
At-Home Expedition: Automobiles and Goldie


The arrival of the automobile made a huge impact on Iowa, especially farm families. Trains went from town to town on established schedules, but cars could connect farm homes to towns or other local destinations, and the riders could travel when they wanted. Automobiles greatly helped to end the isolation many rural families felt. Today, automobiles are almost universal among Iowans, and access to affordable, reliable and convenient transportation is a critical factor in modern life.

Expedition Activities
   + Goldie at Home Activity: Electric Car
   + Video: "Iowa Roads" (Iowa PBS)
   + The Goldfinch: The Automobile Age
   + Automobile Manufacturing in Iowa (Iowa PBS)
   + Iowa History 101 Series

Goldie's at Home Activity

Goldie at Home activities connect Iowa history with STEAM education – science, technology, engineering, art and math - and include easy-to-follow instructions that require few materials. This week's hair-raising activity focuses on the power of static electricity to move an object like an electric car, which has a unique tie to Iowa history. 

Iowa History 101 Series

Watch the June 11 live webinar from State Curator Leo Landis about the impact of automobiles on Iowans. For more webinars, visit the Iowa History 101 Series


Watch a Video

As the production of automobiles increased, so did the need to create and maintain roads. Watch this short Iowa PBS video about the state of Iowa's early roads. 

Discover Additional Resources

Use The Goldfinch, a State Historical Society of Iowa publication for children, to follow the history of automobile production through text, photographs and maps. Learn more about the manufacturing of automobiles in Iowa, such as the Colby Motor Company, with this digital content from Iowa PBS. 
     + The Goldfinch: The Automobile Age (November 1982)
     + Automobile Manufacturing in Iowa (Iowa PBS)