Czechoslovakians Come to Iowa
Iowa Public Television
Many of the Czechs who came to Iowa, settled in Winneshiek, Benton, Johnson and Tama Counties and in Cedar Rapids in Linn County. The majority of these Czechs came to America in the late 1850s following a revolt among the peasants in the province of Bohemia. Some came to avoid mandatory military service. Many came to own land or help relatives on farms hoping eventually to buy their own. Some Czech immigrants were California bound enchanted by stories of the Gold Rush, but never got further west then Cedar Rapids. There they found jobs in the three largest factories, the meatpacking plant, the wagon works and North Star Oatmeal plant. Blending into a community was difficult for any foreign-born group, so they tended to settle in areas were the customs and the language were familiar to them.
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