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Storm Lake Fun Facts

  • 19 July, 2020
  • Andrea Parrott

Since we aren’t traveling to Storm Lake this week for RAGBRAI XLVIII, we gathered some fun facts and interesting tidbits. This way you can get ready to sing their praises before you get there next year.

Storm Lake Fun Facts

Storm Lake is home to Buena Vista University. At its inception, the University was housed in the Buena Vista Opera House. 

Storm Lake is also home to several Tyson’s meat plants. 

The city of Storm Lake is named from the lake where it is said a trapper experienced a severe storm. 

Art Cullen (The Des Moines Register)

Art Cullen, editor and co-owner of the Storm Lake Times, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing, for his 2016 editorials on corporate farming. The Pulitzer board said Cullen’s writing was “fueled by tenacious reporting, impressive expertise and engaging writing that successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa.” Buena Vista County Supervisor Paul Merten said Cullen’s editorials for which he won the Pulitzer, “were based on halftruths and plain lies.” Merten said Cullen’s depiction of the board’s exclusion of its attorney and the supposed scheduling of closed sessions, among other things, were false. Merten’s letter concluded by inviting Cullen to attend the board meetings and saying, “It may add credibility to your editorials.” 

The Living Heritage Tree Museum is located on the shores of Storm Lake. 

They are known for their chainsaw sculptures by local artist Jeff Klatt. Take a spin through the community and see his works including wildlife, Native American scenes, angels or trolls, even comical characters. 

Notable Places in Storm Lake

Kings Pointe Water Park (JOHN GAPS III/The Register)

  • Harker HouseThis 1875 home is listed on the National Historic Register and a great example of how the more influential families lived in the early days of Storm Lake. The home contains 95% of the original family contents of the Harker Family who built the home in 1875. 
  • Heritage Tree Museum – This unique tour of history as told by the descendants of trees that stood by quietly witnessing the history of the world is a great place to spend an afternoon. Enhance your visit by downloading the audio tour and doing some research before your visit. 
  • Buena Vista County Historical Society – Take the time to step back into history at the Buena Vista County Historical Society Museum and Pioneer Village. The museum offers static displays as well as annual special displays for visitors yearround. They also maintain a historic Log Home and One Room Schoolhouse for public tours. 
  • Witter Gallery – Witter Gallery is an art gallery displaying rotating art exhibits. The Witter Gallery also offers youth and adult programs.
  • King’s Pointe Waterpark and Resort
  • Little Lake Discovery Boardwalk – Interpretive trail and boardwalk system into little Storm Lake, a hemi marsh located on the west side of Storm Lake 

Notable People from Storm Lake

Julie Gutz (from

  • Skip Carnine (born 1941), retired educator and Storm Lake native; Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Rogers 
  • Art Cullen, editor of the Storm Lake Times, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. 
  • Janet Dailey, romance novelist 
  • Joe Decker (1947–2003), MLB player 
  • George B. French, actor 
  • Edmund B. Gregory, Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army 
  • Julie Gutz (born 1926), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player 
  • Gene Hackman, Oscar-winning actor resided here in 1945; reference Storm Lake “Breeze” yearbook 1945, 10th grade 
  • Winton Hoch, Oscar-winning cinematographer 
  • Marjorie Holmes (1910–2002), author of hundreds of magazine articles and several novels, most notably Two From Galilee 
  • Steve King, Iowa Congressman often found in the national spotlight due to his controversial statements 
  • Frederic O. MacCartney (1864-1903), Massachusetts socialist politician, graduate of Storm Lake High School 
  • Ella Witter, painter who worked alongside many renowned artists such as Diego Rivera and Hans Hofmann 

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