The history of Ottumwa, IA dates back to centuries ago, while more recent records in the 18th century tell us that the area was inhabited by several Native Peoples. The town owes its name to its original inhabitants, as the name Ottumwa means “tumbling waters” in the languages of the Sac and Fox native people.
Today, Ottumwa, IA is a city and county seat of Wapello County, Iowa, with a population of slightly under 25,000 inhabitants. The city grew significantly in its first decades in the mid 1800s, peaking in the 1970s and finally settling down to its current population. The economy is largely based on agriculture, as well as factories and production facilities of large corporations, such as Walmart and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
The Des Moines River runs through the city, splitting it into two. Ottumwa, IA is also the home of the Indian Hills Community College, which offers two-year programmes for its students.
It is a quaint, laid back town whose people are used to working hard. While the town may not seem like an action-packed place, it has been referred to in popular culture, and several notable Americans hail from the area. Owl City’s Adam Young mentions Ottumwa as his hometown in the song “The 5th of July”. Cpl. Radar O’Reilly from MASH is said to be from the city, as it was referenced on several occasions.
Comedian Tom Arnold also hails from the city. But perhaps the biggest celebrity from Ottumwa, IA is former President Richard Nixon, who called the city his home while he was stationed at the Ottumwa Naval Station.
Ottumwa, IA has many historic structures that showcase authentic American history, including the Historic Railroad District, Court Hill, and North Fellows.
The city is also known as the “Video Game Capital of the World”, a title proclaimed by mayoral decree back in 1982 during the first video game boom. This is due to the fact that the city is also the home of Twin Galaxies, an organization dedicated to video game culture and the supplier of video game records to the Guinness World Records.
Ottumwa, IA is expanding and looking forward to another successful growth period, making it a great place to settle down.