As they say in sales and marketing, success is determined by three factors: Location. Location. And Location. And in 1840, Iowa City had the right location, being smack-dab in the center of the Territory – north and south – and positioned far enough west that it could remain centered even as Iowa expanded westward in the future.
But, the one big problem with building a whole new city from scratch, is that prior to 1840, there were only three transportation options in Johnson County:
- The Iowa River south to the Mississippi River,
- An old Native American trail running north/south – now called Sand Road,
- A roughly cut wagon road going east to Bloomington (Muscatine).
While originally called Iowa’s Military Road when it was first built in 1839, it was rarely used as such, and by 1840, it had become better known as The National Road – stretching from Dubuque to the Missouri border – an important thoroughfare for pioneer families to reach the frontier capitol of Iowa City.
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