Until 170 years ago, Iowa was covered almost entirely by tall grass prairie and woodlands. Today, only .01% of Iowa landscape remains prairie, and most woodlands have been cleared for agricultural purposes. Harvest Preserve Foundation is committed to the restoration of native flora, fauna and woodlands that once covered Iowa. Initiation of the first prairie planting has begun. It is a 10-acre field west of Scott Blvd. Plans for other fields are ongoing. Trails through the woods on the property are maintained and invasive species are being eliminated.
Land Ownership History
Beginning about twelve thousand years ago, this land was home and hunting grounds for various indigenous groups. In 1682, French explorers staked a claim of ownership, although the area was then home to the Iowa, Ottawa, and Sioux Indian tribes. In 1803, the land was acquired from France by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The ensuing U.S. policies and violence related to westward expansion soon pushed other tribes into the area, including the Sauk and Mesquakie. Legal non-native settlement in the territory began in 1833. Within twenty years, all remaining Indian lands in Iowa were ceded to the United States government.
Iowa City was founded in 1839 and designated in 1846 as the first state capital when Iowa entered the Union. During this period, the U.S. government sold territory lands in 40-acre parcels to settlers and speculators. The legal abstracts we now hold begin with these government sales and trace more than one hundred fifty years of active buying and selling of these parcels.
In the 1930s, the land between Rochester Avenue and what later became I-80 was divided into two pieces, forming the Smith Family farm on the southern half and the Krall Family farm on the northern half. The land was annexed into Iowa City in the early 1980s.
Involvement of Harvest Farm & Preserve
For two centuries, this land was treated as a commodity. Some of the owners loved and respected the land, while others treated it strictly as a financial investment. A few never even saw the property. The emergence of Harvest Farm & Preserve marks the final stage of this period of commodity trading. In 2001, Harvest acquired the Hunter-Krall farm, fronting I-80, and the Smith farm, fronting Rochester. In October 2002, the new Scott Boulevard extension opened from Rochester to Dodge Street. In 2006, Harvest acquired the northwest corner of Rochester and Scott, along with about 25 acres extending directly east.
Involvement of Harvest Preserve Foundation, Inc.
In October, 2009, Harvest Farm & Preserve transferred 100.64 acres to Harvest Preserve Foundation, a 501(c)(3). This property, to be known as Harvest Preserve, is bordered on the north and east by Scott Boulevard, and on the south by a section of Harvest F&P. The west border of Harvest Preserve abuts a residential street on the southern half (separated by a narrow woods) and undeveloped fields owned by American College Testing (ACT) on the northern half.