Series: Military Bands

For much of the time period covered by this web site, Iowa supported four regimental bands in its National Guard. In the General Orders No. 1 of 1877, the guard was organized into regiments, each of which was provided with a regimental band. In 1892, the Iowa General Assembly authorized the establishment of four regimental bands of 24 pieces each and one "State" band of 36 pieces. The state band was never formed, but the four regimental bands were established in the towns of Centerville, Davenport, Dubuque, and Sioux City.

Many units of Iowa's national guard were called to active duty during the Spanish American War of 1898. Upon their return, the regiments were renumbered twice (1900 & 1902) and relocated a number of times. As a consequence, it sometimes seems as though Iowa supported many more than four military bands. Here is a summary (with a few dates still uncertain) of evolution of Iowa's regimental bands between the Spanish American War and World War I.

  • 49th / 53rd Regimental Band:
    • 1900 - Marshalltown
    • 1902? - Waukon
    • 1908 - Cedar Rapids
  • 50th / 54th Regimental Band:
    • 1900 - Keokuk
    • 1902? - Ottumwa
  • 51st / 55th Regimental Band:
    • 1900 - Centerville
    • 1909 - Clarinda
  • 52nd / 56th Regimental Band:
    • 1900 - Algona
    • 1902? - Fort Dodge
    • 1910 - Mason City
    • 1911 - Des Moines
    • 1914? - Mason City

Wherever they were stationed, Iowa's regimental bands became a valued part of the local musical culture and were touted as musical representatives of their host communities.

In addition to Iowa's four guard bands, a number of regular army bands were stationed at Fort Des Moines during the years that it was an active army base located on the south side of Des Moines.

Sources: Iowa Journal of History and Politics (1920), Report(s) of the Adjutant General to the State of Iowa (1906, 1908, 1912, & 1914).

Revised 2/11/2017

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51st Regimental BandIaBdMapCenterville


52nd Regimental BandIaBdMapFortDodge


53rd Regimental Band?IaBdMapCedarRapids


54th Regimental BandIaBdMapOttumwa


55th Regimental BandIaBdMapCentervilleKeokuk


56th Regimental BandIaBdMapFortDodge1


2nd Calvary BandIaBdMapDesMoines


Fort Des Moines


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