Le Mars, Iowa

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Le Mars is a city in and the county seat of Plymouth County, Iowa, United States.[1] The population was 9,237 at the 2000 census. Le Mars is the home of Wells Dairy, the world's largest producer of ice cream novelties in one location and is the self-proclaimed "Ice Cream Capital of the World". Wells is most well known for its Blue Bunny products. Le Mars, located on the Floyd River, is northeast of Sioux City. Le Mars is the former home of Westmar University, which closed in 1997.



Le Mars is located at 42°47′20″N 96°9′57″W / 42.78889°N 96.16583°W / 42.78889; -96.16583 (42.788799, -96.165944)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.8 square miles (17.7 km²), of which, 6.8 square miles (17.6 km²) of it is land and 0.15% is water.


Le Mars was platted in 1869 but no lots were sold until the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company arrived in 1879. According to town legend CNW investor John I. Blair and a group of ladies arrived at the town which was then referred to as St. Paul Junction. The ladies were asked to name the town and they submitted their own first name initials for Lucy Underhill, Elizabeth Parson, Mary Weare, Anna Blair, Rebecca Smith and Sarah Reynolds.[citation needed]

In 1913 Fred H. Wells opened a milk route in Le Mars. By 1925 he and his sons opened an ice cream manufacturing plant in Le Mars. It (and the Wells name) was purchased by Fairmount Ice Cream in 1928. In 1935 Fred and his sons wanted to begin selling ice cream again but couldn't use their name. They sponsored a “Name That Ice Cream” contest in the Sioux City Journal. The winner of the $25 prize suggested Blue Bunny because his son had enjoyed seeing blue bunnies in department store windows at Easter.

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