About Shenandoah

Article: Scouting RAGBRAI 2016-Shenandoah in Full Bloom


Welcome to Shenandoah, IA, City with Energy…..a beautiful garden city with renewable fuels production and plenty to energize the spirit….recreation, entertainment, art, shopping, dinning and more. Shenandoah is not only a progressive place to work and live it's a fun place to visit.

Shenandoah Official Site «-- business directory, churches, parks, and more!


Wabash Trace Nature Trail & Railroad Depots

The trail is a converted railroad right-of-way running over 60 miles through scenic Southwest Iowa from Council Bluffs passes through Shenandoah and on to the Missouri border. It runs past the Wabash Depot in Sportsman's Park on Ferguson Road. Depot Restaurant, 101 Railroad Ave., is a converted train depot which serves as museum and microbrewery. There is also a historical marker in front of the Depot where President Theodore Roosevelt spoke in Shenandoah on April 28,1903.

Seed & Nursery Industry

Historic marker at the site of former Henry Field Seed Co. north on Sycamore St. a block from Sportsman's Park and current Earl May Seed and Nursery Co. on Elm St. and flagship store on Hwy 59.

Radio Broadcasting

KMA sports and information radio, broadcasting 90 years in Shenandoah is located in a modern facility at 208 N. Elm St. KYFR also on 112 N. Elm St. broadcasts in a Christian format.

Everly Brother's Childhood Home

800 W. Sheridan Ave., The Everly Brothers - Don and Phil - of rock 'n roll fame, lived in Shenandoah as children performing on live radio with their parents. Visit the modest Shenandoah home of the rock & roll pioneers. It's furnished with one of their actual childhood beds and memories of their 1986 Homecoming concert in Shenandoah. After leaving Shenandoah at high school age for a Nashville career they became multi-Grammy winners and were inducted in the first round in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Iowa Walk of Fame

Shenandoah's downtown streetscape includes 125 sidewalk plaques recognizing famous Iowans from former presidents and scientists to famous musicians and sports heroes.

Historical Museums

Shenandoah Historical Museum, 800 W. Sheridan Ave. - Learn of Shenandoah's garden industry, broadcasting pioneers, archeology, and musical history. Musical greats like the Everly Brothers, Blackwood Brothers, and many famous musicians got their start in Shenandoah.

Shenandoah Military Museum, located on second floor of the Memorial Armory Bldg. 423 W. Thomas Ave. Displays include uniforms, flags, field gear, arms, medals, and murals.

Southwest Iowa Theatre Group

Iowa's longest continuously running community playhouse is located in Shenandoah. Since the 1950's they have been performing four or more plays a season in the Park Playhouse in Sportsman's Park.

History of Shenandoah, IA

Originally called Fair Oaks, Shenandoah took its permanent name in 1870 when soldiers returning from the Civil War saw a striking resemblance to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Shenandoah's growth was spurred by the railroad. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad completion brought settlers to Shenandoah.

Early in its history, with an abundance of fertile soil, Shenandoah became the seed and nursery capital of America. In 1875 the first nursery business, Mt. Arbor Nurseries, began. In 1871 Henry Field was born in Shenandoah. He sold his first packet of seeds at age six. Fifteen years later he grew, harvest and sold his own seeds locally. By the time Field passed away in 1949 the Henry Field Company was one of the largest and best-known companies of its kind in the United States.

Another local company synonymous with growing in Shenandoah is Earl May Seed and Nursery. Earl May, a Nebraska native, sold garden seeds in the Midwest and South to pay for his college costs. May moved to Shenandoah in 1915 to work at Mt. Arbor Nursery. Three years later he founded the company that still bears his name throughout Iowa and three other states.


May and Field became broadcasting pioneers when they created radio stations to broadcast their commercials and entertain throughout the Midwest and across the country. Field launched KFNF in 1924 and May began broadcasting KMA in 1925. Live broadcasts of music news and information were beamed from studios and auditoriums built by the stations. Shenandoah became known as a stopping point for entertainers to perform on the live radio stages. Everyone from the Blackwood Brother quartet, Charlie Haden the great jazz bass player, and to the Everly Brothers got their start on Shenandoah's live radio stages.

Shenandoah's past and present is filled with enterprising entrepreneurs. In addition to Earl May Garden Centers and KMA Radio; Lloyd Inc. pharmaceuticals; Triple K Manufacturing Extra Touch spices, salad dressings, and sauces; Browns Shoe Fit Co.; Central Surveys; Green Plains , fourth largest ethanol producer in the world; all got their start in and in most cases still headquartered in Shenandoah.