is a city located in the central part of the U.S. state of Iowa in Story County, and approximately north of Des Moines. It is the principal city of the Ames, Iowa
Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Story County, and which, when combined with the Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area, comprises the larger Ames-Boone Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2000 Census, the city population was 50,731. While Ames is the largest city in Story County, the county seat is in Nevada which is east of Ames.
Ames is the home of Iowa State University of Science and Technology, a major public research institution with leading Agriculture, Design, Engineering, and Veterinary Medicine colleges. It is also the site of the Ames Straw Poll, an important straw poll in the Republican party presidential nomination process as well as the first in the nation Democratic and Republican caucuses (
columnist Jeffrey Zaslow. It examines the lives and friendships of several young girls who grew up in Ames and have moved on with their adult lives but still remain close.
The city was founded in 1864 as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad and was named after 19th century U.S. Congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, who was influential in the building of the transcontinental railroad. Ames was founded near a location that was deemed favorable for a railroad crossing of the Skunk River.