Whether you’ve lived here for decades or just a few short months, there may be some things about Johnston you don’t know. Following are 10 fun facts about Johnston that might make you the hit of the party at holiday gatherings or not – but they’re still interesting, nonetheless.
- Johnston continues to be one of the fastest growing communities in the state. It has doubled its population in the census every decade since 1980 – most recently going from 8600 in 2000 to over 17,000 in 2010. We had a population of just 300 in 1970 and we are now the 25th largest city in Iowa.
- Johnston is still a relatively young community. We were incorporated as city in September of 1969. That makes us just 43 years old. We’ve only had 11 mayors, three of which have been women.
- Johnston’s logo for many years was “Where the Good Life is Close at Hand.” I’ve never been able to figure out just what that was supposed to mean. Our logo now is “Living, Learning, Growing.”
- In 2011, CNN Money Magazine ranked Johnston as the 13th Best Small Town in America to Live. Those of us who live here have known that for a long time – and now our secret is out.
- The oldest person in the world lives in Johnston. Her name is Dina Manfredini and she 115 years old.
- The median family income in Johnston is over $100,000 a year – the highest in the metro area. Our population is well educated and they have good paying jobs thanks to our local employers, like Pioneer and John Deere Financial Services.
- The National Teacher of the Year in 2010 was Sara Brown Wessling, an English teacher in the Johnston School District. Johnston has great schools and it’s one of the reasons we continue to grow so fast.
- There are currently over 30 miles of connected bike trails within the city limits of Johnston. We just completed the Augustine and 62nd Avenue Trails and are in the process of designing the Beaver Drive Trail.
- While working as a radio announcer in Des Moines, Ronald Reagan spent many summer afternoons at the Camp Dodge Pool – swimming and dazzling young women. The pool was the largest filtered pool in the world and served the Iowa National Guard and community for nearly 80 years. It’s footprint has been preserved and developed into a park area where music concerts and other events are held year around.
10. In 1926, Pioneer Hi-Bred was founded in Johnston by Henry Wallace and is still headquartered here. Henry Wallace went on to serve our country as US Secretary of Agriculture and the first Vice President to Franklin Roosevelt. Pioneer has grown a lot over the last 90 years, and like John Deere Financial Services, has operations around the world. The flags that fly in front of the buildings of both companies represent the global extent of their businesses.
If you know of other fun facts about Johnston, send them my way. I’ll add them to the list and share them in future Community Blogs.