Iowa History Daily: August 22 - Britt's First Hobo Convention

Iowa History Daily: On August 22, 1900, a real hootenanny came together as the first official National Hobo Convention got underway in Britt. For 122 years and counting hobos and hobos-at-heart have gathered in the Hancock County town and crowned the Hobo King and Queen.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, itinerant workers traveled the rails of the United States seeking daily work. Riding lines throughout the country, hobos started to come together for a convention in Chicago prior to 1900. After attending the event, some local citizens of Britt became determined to host the event.

With annual activities including a ceremonial lighting of the “Hobo Jungle” campfire, a parade, and even a funeral for those unfortunate hobos who ‘caught the westbound,’ Britt continues to preserve an important part of America’s past. The crowd participation-based crowning event caps off a unique celebration which also features locals cooking up 5,000 servings worth of ‘Hobo Stew.’

The celebration also features small town staples like a carnival, parade, and other festivities. Britt also maintains the National Hobo Museum, as well as a specific cemetery section which provides a resting place and remembrance for many of the restless ramblers who’ve ‘caught the westbound.’ #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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