Please come experience another culture in Columbus Junction! The Community Development Center staff is happy to work with bus groups, clubs and classrooms to make it a more fun, educational and interesting experience. We can arrange guided tours, catered meals and even live music, please call or email. Sample menus: Latin American, Chin.
Columbus Junction is well known for its authentic Hispanic culture. Immigrants from Mexico began coming to the area in the early 1900s to work on the railroad. Following that era, migrant farm jobs were the big draw. Currently the attraction is most likely employment at the Tyson plant just outside of the city.
Some of the descendants of those early immigrants stayed in the area, now marking four or five generations in the United States. They are accompanied by many Hispanic families that came to Columbus Junction in the 80s and 90s, and others that continue to arrive today. In many cases the latter are relatives of earlier arrivals who encourage their family members to come where there are jobs, nice houses, good schools and a safe community.
The Hispanic community in Columbus Junction is predominantly of Mexican descent with most states and certainly all regions of Mexico represented, along with Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba. To make things even a little more interesting, many of the Hispanic residents of Columbus Junction come to our small city after living in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City.
One of the best places to explore Hispanic Culture is in downtown Columbus Junction. Nearly one third of our businesses are Latino-owned. The tacos are delicious, the Quinceañera dresses are beautiful and fresh mangos, avocados and jalapenos are always available. Shopping Hispanic style can be a little different—you won’t necessarily get a check at the restaurant, it might be waiting for you at the register; at the bakery you’re handed the tray and tongs because the display case doors open on the customer’s side for you to serve yourself and the business owner’s children or grandchildren might be there after school working on homework.
More recent to the city is a growing Chin population. These individuals and families come from the Chin State in Myanmar (Burma) where they were no longer able to reside due to religious persecution. Interestingly one of the missionaries that brought Christianity to the Chin Hills was Rev. Carson born in Columbus City, Iowa. The Chin migration to Columbus Junction began in 2005 and the community now number over 400 and includes two churches, two grocery stores, a restaurant and three service organizations. Carson Chin Baptist Church is building a church on the south side of the city.
“In any small town, you’re always looking at: what is the future of this town going to be? And having a large group of people with young children, saying ‘we’d like to live here and open some businesses,’ that’s very reassuring,” said city community development director Mallory Smith, who helped residents open the first Chin store and restaurant and rent space for a community garden. “We’re a young, growing town, which is very nice.”
from Burmese refugees flock to Columbus Junction, May 6 2013