I'm an amateur Star Trek fan--I've watched some of TOS and a few movies, but I know enough to remember that Captain Kirk is from Iowa. I don't know where in Iowa, just Iowa.

Recently I came across a town (Riverside, Iowa) that claims to be the future birthplace of James T. Kirk. According to this article, someone just chose Riverside out of the blue, without evidence from canon.

My question is, does it say anywhere in Star Trek canon where exactly Kirk was will be born?

1 Answer 1


Real World

According to the Humboldt Travel Journal, the decision to commemorate Riverside, Iowa as the birthplace of James Kirk was originally intended to act as a tourist attractor. After the success of the first Trek-con, the Council then decided to build a dedicated Star Trek museum.

This phenomenon is the brainchild of Riverside City Council Member Steve Miller. In March of 1985, Miller suggested to the City Council, which was looking for a theme for the annual town festival, to celebrate Riverside as the future birthplace of James Tiberius Kirk, the infamous captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise on NBC's late 1960s sci-fi series "Star Trek." The future historical birth, which is set to take place on March 22, 2228, is also celebrated annually by the people of Riverside.

"I had read in Stephen Whitefield and Gene Roddenberry's 'Making of Star Trek' that Kirk was born in a small town in Iowa," said Miller. "So out of the clear blue sky, I made a motion at the City Council meeting that we designate Riverside as Kirk's future birthplace."

Deep Space Iowa: The Captain Kirk Museum - Humbold Journal

Prime Timeline (Main canon)

All we know is that Kirk's (original) birthplace was in Iowa. No specific town is mentioned.

Alternate timeline (Abramverse Canon)

Kirk was born on a shuttle in deep space, then raised in Riverside, Iowa next to the Riverside Shipyards where the Enterprise was under construction.

“We’re at the Riverside shipyard inspecting construction of a new vessel. Shuttle for new recruits leaves tomorrow oh-six hundred.” He hesitated, then locked eyes one last time with the younger man standing across from him. “Your father was the captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved eight hundred lives, including your mother’s and yours. I dare you to do better.” Pivoting sharply, he headed for the door.

Star Trek (2009): Official Novelisation

EU Canon

Many authors, including William Shatner (the actor who protrayed Kirk in the main canon shows and films) have made mention that Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa.

“Okay. That’s you, I guess,” she said. “Where are you from?”


“Sounds pretty. Is it a Federation colony?”

Abruptly self-conscious, Jimmy realized he hadn’t added the main part of his address. He was used to being with people who already knew. “No… it’s in Iowa.”

Star Trek TOS: Best Destiny


Joseph brightened. “I remember the horses.” They’d gone to a ranch resort in Iowa near the site of the Kirk family farm, on the outskirts of Riverside. But the land was now a world heritage park, and not even the foundations of the house or the barn had remained. Kirk recalled that, in an earlier time, there’d even been a statue of himself nearby. But that was gone, too. The old saying was true: Fame was fleeting. Nor could it compare with the simple joy of riding with his child.

Star Trek TOS: Captain's Glory by William Shatner

  • Great answer. I doubt I'll get anything better than this.
    – CHEESE
    Jan 8, 2017 at 15:56
  • 3
    And of course, one might assume that since the Abramverse continuity was changed by time travel, had there not been a mission to investigate the 'lightning storm' and the stress of the following events triggered a premature birth, they might well have been back at Earth and at Riverside in the original timeline in time for his birth. Jan 8, 2017 at 16:06
  • @starpilotsix: Wait, this would mean that for Riverside's claim to be correct, we have to degenerate from the first Enterprise starship (NX-01) to creepy beeps, awfully small monitors, mechanical switches, really bad taste in ship design, clothing, and haircut, and so on before building THE Enterprise (NCC-1701)? Holy crap! Jan 9, 2017 at 0:38
  • 5
    And note that all of the canon references to Riverside post-date the adoption by the Riverside Council of the designation.
    – MAP
    Jan 9, 2017 at 1:01
  • 1
    And the shady marketing guy wins again...
    – xdhmoore
    Jan 9, 2017 at 10:07

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