Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

For reasons that are slightly inexplicable to me, I ended up in Beaver, Iowa yesterday morning. I’ve always felt that Beaver is a town that looks like it “walked” out of a horror movie. For this reason I once (years and years ago) took a series of pictures called “The Beaver Machete Massacre Project”.

It had been several years since I have wandered through the nearly abandoned streets of Beaver. In my absence the town has become even more of a ghost town. It has fallen even farther apart.

I did not spend much time in Beaver because I was meeting Teresa and Logan for lunch, but I did take a few images.

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

Welcome to Beaver, Iowa

I am a big fan of modern ruins, so I will have to return to Beaver at some point for a Personal Photo Project when I have more time and a full supply of insect repellent.

Because I’m not 100% sure that Beaver isn’t a real life horror story, I will have to bring at least a couple of photo assistants with me for protection. Preferably the kind that have lots of pre-marital sex, drink lots of beer and do lots of drugs. The type that wear impractical shoes and fall down a lot while I’m running to my car (that will never be shutoff) to escape a chainsaw wielding maniac covered in the skin of his previous victims are the most desirable.

8 thoughts on “Welcome to Beaver, Iowa”

  1. Interesting. I didn’t realize there was anything left in Beaver at all. The town that gives me that creepy feeling is Dana. Driving through at night on my way home from the lake it often reminds me of the setting for a Stephen King novel.

  2. You’ll have to make sure to mostly tour buildings with staircases, so that your assistants can irrationally run up them when chased.

    I haven’t been to Beaver since my grandfather was running for reelection as supervisor sometime in the early 90’s. We had to walk door-to-door to hand out pamphlets – I think it took all of about 20 minutes.

  3. This is coming from somebody that wouldn’t care too much about such things:

    I don’t think hardly any of these buildings are structurally sound enough to even do a little bit of exploring in. Almost all of these building have had the roof collapse in and some of them have had the walls fall out of them.

    Currently I would guess that Beaver is about 50-50 on homes that have occupants and homes that are abandoned. The entire “business district” is abandoned with the exception of the Post Office and grain elevator.

    But I will definitely put the following question on the assistant application:

    If you are chased by a man with a chainsaw and your options are run outside or run upstairs where you will be trapped, what do you do?

    If will be right after:

    One of your best friends is missing. Do you go looking for them or do you smoke a big fat blunt?

    I’m not sure if I have ever been to Dana. In what ways is it reminiscent of Stephen King novel?

  4. If I close my eyes this is what I recall of th 3-4 blocks of desolate town I drive through:

    The wooden sign over Stinkys bar & grill creaking & swaying in the wind.

    Next door sits a two story house that was once white, but now has a grey tinge from the soot that was left when it burned. At one time there was a partially charred doll carriage on the sidewalk leading up to the house. I can’t recall if that was still there on my last drive through or not.

    Across the street and down the block is a cute little house with well tended flowers out front. I have never seen a vehicle at the house or a light on in the window when driving by at night.

    In fact, I have never seen a human on foot there. I have seen a dog cross the street in front of me. A big beast that looked like he was mostly, but not all, rotweiller. I have seen a farmer in a truck drive down the street as well. I imagine he was heading for the Juhl Feed grain elevator on the edge of town, but he took his sweet time driving slowly past me as he assessed my truck. I’m not so sure that he didn’t spit out his window as he passed.

    It is just a very odd little town.

  5. I am shocked that they don’t have a bar, even. It seems like that’s the staple of every small town (people wanting to get drunk) – although, if you don’t have enough residents to support it, that makes sense.

  6. Sounds perfect for a little night time photography foray. As long as I don’t get chopped and served as a blue plate special at Stinky’s.

    The partially charred doll carriage does sound like it came straight out of a nightmare.

    Beaver used to have a bar called The Beaver Den. I don’t have a picture of it, but it is in the building that is directly to the East of the building in the first two pictures.

    The sign for The Beaver Den is still on the building, but it must have been closed down many, many, many years ago.

    Most small towns do support a bar. Pilot Mound has a bar. Boxholm has a bar. Ogden has a bar. Madrid has a bar. Woodward has a bar. I think the only towns in Boone County that don’t have a bar are: Beaver, Berkley and Fraser. But those towns barely constitute being considered towns.

    I guess I’m not sure about Luther, but I don’t think Luther has a bar and it is at least the size of Pilot Mound, so I think it could sustain a bar.

  7. I was thinking exactly of Pilot Mound when I wrote that – for the longest time, they used to have the bar AND the restaurant (which also served beer). What’s that little town south of Ames on the way to Huxley? I wonder if that town has a bar?

  8. I will be passing through Dana on my way home from vacation in a few weeks. I will slow down just enough to check out the surroundings, but not slow enough for any strange engine stalls to occur. I will let you know if it still appears the same.

    You may be in luck on not turning into the special at Stinky’s as they never appear to be open for business. But then again, strange things could be going on behind darkened doors over there.

    Fraser did have a bar at one time. I think it may have even been open still 30 years ago, from the stories I hear. One of the ex’s relation spent a lot of money to put a bar & pool table in his basement a few years back. Although not publicly open, the town is not lacking a “watering hole”.

    I think that town is called either Midville or Midvale, Angie. What about Zookspur? That little so called town touches 3 counties, I know, but I guess I’m not sure if it’s anymore than several farmhouses calling themselves a town.

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