Iowa State College in the 1890s: A Visual History

Douglas Biggs

Monday, 11 Mar 2013 at 8:00 pm – Sun Room, Memorial Union

Douglas Biggs, associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, is a native of Ames and a graduate of Iowa State University. The son of a geology professor, Biggs spent much of his youth exploring the campus and later earned both a BA and an MA in history from the university before completing his PhD at the University of Minnesota. The first installment of his research on Iowa State in the 1890s, conducted in the University Archives, appeared in the Annals of Iowa in 2012. This talk, featuring a slide show of historic photographs, will highlight the Dinkey, a steam engine that ran between campus and downtown Ames from 1891 to 1907. A scale model of the Dinkey, complete with track, will be on display in the Parks Library until the end of May.
The Dinkey model and accompanying informational panels are on loan from the Ames Historical Society. The Dinkey display was originally made by Bryan Anderson for an exhibit called "Rail Reality: How the Trains made Ames" held at the Octagon Arts Center. The model is now sitting at the east end of the Parks Library, fittingly facing the Hub, which is constructed on the site of the original train's terminus on campus.

Douglas Biggs is currently Associate Dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Kearney and Associate Professor of History. He earned his PhD in Medieval English Political History at the University of Minnesota. He has published widely on the reigns of Richard II (1377-99) and Henry IV (1399-1413), has taught at the University of York (UK), and serves as the Managing Senior Editor for Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden, The Netherlands) Late Medieval Europe monograph series.

His interest in the history of Ames and Iowa State was renewed when his wife, Gloria Betcher, a faculty member in the English Department and then chair of the Ames Historic Preservation Commission, asked him to help determine the historical significance of the derelict bridge that spanned the Squaw Creek just south of the Union Pacific bridge.

Cosponsored By:
  • Iowa State University Library
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

Stay for the entire event, including the brief question-and-answer session that follows the formal presentation. Most events run 75 minutes.

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