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The Scots Among Us


Few North Americans have observed a Scottish piper, a young kilted dancer, or an elegantly clad male in formal Highland apparel without identifying him or her as "Scottish". The attire, the music, and instruments, and even the carriage of the individual are distinctive.

These folk represent a heritage as rich and old as any immigrant culture. During the settlement of North America, their surnames and recollections of the homeland branded the countryside with place names such as Albany, Dallas, Houston, Cooperstown, and yes, Scottsdale. After naming the countryside they also assimilated, blending so successfully into the young American society they became almost indistinct. The kilt that belonged to Grandpa and the sash worn by Grandma were relegated to the attic; the bagpipes lay silent and the songs were nearly forgotten.

Estimates vary, but given the preponderance of Scottish surnames, many Americans have a familial connection to that lovely country called Scotland. Scottish or not, millions of Americans have traveled to Scotland and fallen in love with its gorgeous cities, bonnie towns, architectural wonders, heather-covered hills, and inspiring seascapes. They also speak warmly of the friendly and opinionated people.

The Scottish Heritage Society of Iowa

The Scottish Heritage Society of Iowa, (Central Iowa Chapter) was formed in 1975 by the children and grandchildren of members of two organizations prominent in the early days of Des Moines history - the "Robert Burns Club" and the "St. Andrews Society".

The current membership is comprised of Scottish Americans and others interested in preserving and honoring Scottish culture. Members enjoy the opportunity to gather and share their interests in this lively, historic, and proud heritage.

We invite you to join the Scottish Heritage Society of Iowa and explore and enjoy our traditions.

Our History

Curved Thistle

The official Iowa Tartans were approved by the Iowa Legislature on April 6, 2004. Designed by Des Moines native, Mark Osweiler, the tartans represent the colors of Iowa and Scotland.

Iowa Tartan, and beside that, the Iowa Dress Tartan.

iowa tarta
iowa dress tartan

(Click photos for narrative.)

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