From the July 26, 1878 Ames Intelligencer - A correspondent of the Manchester Press lately passed through our country, stopped at Ames, visited the college and writes home about it:
My visit in Story County was very short indeed, but I concluded from the two trips I have made across that county, one from north to south and the other east to west, that Story is not a number one county of the land. In wet times there is too much standing water -- numerous little bayous or ponds, besides the soil is composed too much of sand and gravel. Still there is plenty of nice looking land in Story County
In this county there are still thousands of acres of land unoccupied, and vast droves of cattle are gathered in from adjoining counties and pastured here in herds. Nevada is the county seat and a nice little town. I noticed in passing a fine looking school and a number of churches.
Ames is about as large as Earlville, a bright, smart little town, and here ended my journey. I had often been invited to visit the Agricultural Farm, and I improved the opportunity to make a short call. The College Farm is about one mile west of Ames, and in appearance somewhat romantic; it is quite hilly, with walks and roads beautifully laid out, and the grounds nicely shaded with beautiful trees set out promiscuously, and the lawns of this character amount to over 100 acres.
The farm is composed of 800 acres, a portion of it lying on the Squaw Creek bottoms that at the time of my visit were overflown with water and the crops of grain and grass sadly damaged. The College building is a gigantic structure built of stone, five or six stories high, and nicely finished off. We only visited a few rooms as our time was limited, and my friend Welch was off on a trip for the benefit of his health, which has been failing for some time, and the others we found here appeared to be too busy to spend much time with us.
But we visited the library which is indeed immense, it is by far the largest library I ever saw. The museum is grand indeed, containing hundreds of specimens of minerals, stuffed skins of birds and beasts, many casts representing mammoth beasts extinct centuries ago; some monstrosities in the way of stuffed skins of double headed animals, others with multiplicity of limbs, etc. This room alone had plenty to occupy our time and attention for a whole day. We could only give it a glance in the few minutes allotted to us.
There are a number of other buildings on the farm, but we only had time to look through the barns. They are rather large, but not showy, and indeed, not at all attractive, neither in the internal arrangements nor in external appearances. If it would not be a sacrilege, I will venture to guess that money spent in building those barns was not, every dollar, used to the very best advantage.
The crops on the farm look well; the cattle were away in the pasture and we did not see them. This is said to be equal, if not superior, to any college farm in the United States, and one feels well paid for the time and money in seeing it. If it benefits you in no other way, it will at least satisfy you as to where a part of that money goes.