Old Cap Tour - Auditor's Office
High Desk and Map

Auditor's Office: Mapping Iowa's Money


Auditor definition:

Iowa's auditor monitors state monies with the State Treasurer and acts as the state's bookkeeper.

Iowa's first auditor, Joe Fales, served two terms from 1846-50. He analyzed state accounts, collected taxes from counties, wrote financial reports, and developed a working budget each year. He quickly realized the financial problems facing the new state. Fales suggested the use of the first tax form to be filed by the taxpayer. He also advocated for taxes to be determined by the value of a payer's property.

Because Fales and his associates kept track of so many activities across Iowa, they had to maintain a keen understanding of the state's ever-changing boundaries. The two maps hanging on the walls illustrate how rapidly Iowa was growing as a state. The 1845 map behind the stove shows Iowa with 21 counties along the eastern border, and the rest of the state designated to Native American tribes such as the Sioux, Sauk and Fox, Meskwaki, and Potawatomi. The map above the desk shows Iowa when it entered the Union in 1846. At that time, one-third of the state was being settled by pioneers, forcing Native American tribes to surrender their land and push farther west.

As Iowa expanded westward, lawmakers decided to move the State capitol to a more central location, in Des Moines (where it remains today). Legislators moved the furniture in February 1857, when they could easily transport pieces across frozen rivers and lakes. While moving, however, they were trapped in a storm and lost nearly all of the original furniture. The chair in the corner is one of the few original items rescued. Most of the furnishings in Old Capitol today are 1840s-1850s antiques from other sources. Tour Map

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