Town Sign Project: Boone County

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Day 2 - Things Start to Look Different

Pufferbilly Days - 2019

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I made a recent decision to start breaking down town in the TOWN SIGN PROJECT by county. I’ve used the Wikipedia and a Iowa Gazetteer to start this process. Well, it seemed rather obvious that the first county I should cross off the list is the county is the county I live in.

Here are the town signs from Boone County.

Boone, Iowa
Boone, Iowa – 12,661

Madrid, Iowa
Madrid, Iowa – 2,543

Ogden, Iowa
Ogden, Iowa – 2,044

Sheldahl, Iowa
Sheldahl, Iowa – 319

Boxholm, Iowa
Boxholm, Iowa – 195

Pilot Mound, Iowa
Pilot Mound, Iowa – 173

Luther, Iowa
Luther, Iowa – 122

Fraser, Iowa
Fraser, Iowa – 102

Beaver, Iowa
Beaver, Iowa – 48

Berkley, Iowa
Berkley, Iowa – 32

Mackey, Iowa
Mackey, Iowa – Unincorporated

Moingona, Iowa
Moingona, Iowa – Unincorporated

Centerville, Iowa (Boone County)
Centerville, Iowa – Unincorporated

Napier, Iowa
Napier, Iowa – Unincorporated

Ridgeport, Iowa
Ridegeport, Iowa – Unincorporated

Boone County has a couple of unincorporated towns that have no sign to mark their existence. These are Jordan and Logansport. Some people claim that Zenorsville is an unincorporated community, but I would consider it a ghost town. Same way I would consider Coal Valley a ghost town. Elk Rapids a ghost town. However, there are still people living in Jordan and Logansport.

The next county I plan on doing is either Story County or Greene County. Cause, proximity.

9 thoughts on “Town Sign Project: Boone County”

  1. Those population numbers are from 2010, so it is possible that they have switched places. I forgot to include the town sign for the ghost town of Angus that was also in Boone County. At one time was the largest town in Boone County. Or pretty close.

    Beaver is really pathetic when you think about it. I’m pretty sure I’ve driven US30 the length of Iowa. I’ve definitely been on 30 all the way to Clinton and at least most of the way to Counciltucky. Beaver is by far the least successful town on Highway 30. It really has no excuse for being as big of a failure as Berkley.

    Berkley used to be on a railroad. (In fact, the old Berkley Depot now sits between Boone and Ogden.) But that railroad went away. It isn’t on a major highway. It sits on a county road. A county road that probably only exists for people to get to Berkley. There is about 10 houses and an abandoned school. But even the abandoned school is in considerably better shape than Beaver’s abandoned school. It has been awhile since I’ve been to Berkley but if memory serves, I don’t even think most of the roads are even paved. I would say there isn’t really even much of any indication of where the business district in Berkley used to be.

    Considering that there are literally zero economic drivers in the area, it is amazing that Berkley even still exists at all.

    Beaver doesn’t have any of those excuses. It is on a major highway in US30. It is near the junction of US30 and 169. One of the busiest rail lines in the country goes through Beaver. It still has a post office. Berkley, does not have a post office that I remember. Beaver has the economic resources to be as successful as say a Grand Junction or even a Ralston if you want to lower the bar lower than Grand Junction. There is just no excuse for it being the saddest most miserable town I’ve ever visited. With the possible exception of Shannon City. And the entire state of Arkansas, which is basically one giant Beaver.

    I’ve made the sad decision to no longer try to include unincorporated towns in THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT. Of all the ones I’ve tracked down, Moingona really is the only one I’ve found with a sign. Now, it is a legit sign. The other day I visited two unincorporated towns in Story County. Fernald and Shipley. Neither has a sign besides a DOT sign pointing to what turn to take to go to them. Which I think makes it like 1 out of 10 that these communities have a town sign. So I’m going to cut them out of the project, unless I just happen to stumble on one or I get a tip that one has a sweet sign like Moingona.

    Shipley still has a pretty big old school building that seems to be either apartments or a business of some kind. It is actually a pretty nice building. Makes me wonder about the history of Shipley a bit. Because now Shipley consists of about 5 houses and this big old school building that is pretty nice looking.

    I got this email from a friend of mine in regards to the Moingona sign though that I think you’ll find interesting:

    “FYI. My late uncle, G.T. Hilts came up with the idea and did the sign for Moingona. He had passports printed. If he came across a nonresident, they needed to show official documentation. I won’t tell you what happened if they couldn’t. Suffice it to say my uncle was the self appointed sheriff and judge for Moingona.

    As for the population all happy, my dear uncle saw to it. And they most definitely were. Happy that is.

    He also had the authority to ordain. Which he did to the Reverend Mr. Black, Moingona’s spiritual leader. I think you might have liked my Uncle G.T. Hilts. I loved the guy. ”

    I’m going to do more research on this. Going to see Kio (the guy who sent it) on Thursday at the Community Thanksgiving at the church, so hopefully I can drill down on this story.

    I know this is a joke, because if I heard a similar story in the south, I would have my doubts that this was something nefarious.

  2. Does Beaver also still have a bar? I have to assume it has a bar – I would think they’d hold on to that even longer than their post office. I love the idea of describing Arkansas as one big Beaver, because it’s incredibly accurate.

    That is too bad about the unincorporated town signs, but I’m not surprised. I think about all of the little ones I’ve seen that were so poorly marked that I honestly didn’t know that they were anything more than a small dwelling of several offshoots of the same family tree or something similar. I’d think they’d really take pride in keeping it going despite all odds, and have just the largest, most fantastic and ridiculous signs you ever saw.

    G.T. Hilts sounds absolutely amazing, and like a huge personality. I really enjoy huge personalities, in moderation. He sounds like the type of guy I’d enjoy in moderation.

  3. I didn’t actually get a chance to talk to Kio much yesterday. So I still don’t have much info on this G.T. Hilts. But I might just call him this weekend.

    I think if I were to move into an unincorporated town or the site of ghost town, I would just put up a sign in my own yard. Like the people of Zook Spur, Iowa.

    Zook Spur, Iowa

    There is most definitely not still a bar in Beaver, Iowa. This is what the Beaver Den looks like now:

    Beaver, Iowa

    Well look like that several years ago. There are no businesses in Beaver besides the grain elevator. Every building in the Beaver Business District is falling over. The roofs have collapsed. A town with pride would have knocked them over by now.

  4. I can’t wait to hear more about G.T. Please update when you do find something out.

    I’ve never heard of Zook, but they appear to have gumption. I can’t believe Beaver doesn’t have a bar – and not only that it doesn’t have a bar, but apparently the old bar is inhabited by hobos. I had no idea it had fallen into even further disrepair than when I was in high school.

  5. Zook Spur is a few miles south of Madrid on 17. That sign is basically in somebody’s front yard.

    I would love to just photograph every single building in Beaver. You could do it in a single day. But I’m creeped out when I’m there and I’m pretty sure it is inhabited by the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

    Pretty much every time I’m there, it feels like I get stared down by at least on local.

  6. I’m sure I’ve told you a million times how we had to go door-to-door there when I was in 8th grade or so when my grandpa was running for County Supervisor. My brother and I took a portion of town as a team (which seems like a terrible idea now), and people would look out their windows angrily and not answer the doors for us, a 8th grader and a 4th grader. I do not at all doubt that evil dwells there.

  7. I really think you should go back to Beaver to check out how it is even so much worse now. So much worse.

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