I recently drove through Carroll County to harvest all the signs in Carroll that I was missing. I didn’t run across any interesting historical markers in Carroll County, so might as well just get straight to it.

Here is a look at the Carroll County Photo Map. Once again, the boundaries of Carroll County are approximate at best:

Carroll County Photo Map
Carroll County Photo Map

And with Carroll County completed, this is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:

Town Sign Project - 9 Counties

Here are the towns signs of Carroll County (Population Stats from 2010 Census):

Carroll, Iowa
Carroll, Iowa
Population: 10,103

Manning, Iowa
Manning, Iowa
Manning – It’s Refreshing!
Population: 1,500

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids – In the Heart of Corn Country
Population: 1,305

Glidden, Iowa
Glidden, Iowa
Population: 1,146

Arcadia, Iowa
Arcadia, Iowa
Population: 1,146

Breda, Iowa
Breda, Iowa
Welcome To Breda
Population: 483

Templeton, Iowa
Templeton, Iowa
Welcome to Templeton – A Strong Community Spirit
Population: 362

Dedham, Iowa
Dedham, Iowa
Dedham Welcomes You
Population: 266

Halbur, Iowa
Halbur, Iowa
Welcome to Halbur
Population: 246

Lidderdale, Iowa
Lidderdale, Iowa
Population: 180

Lanesboro, Iowa
Lanesboro, Iowa
Welcome to Lanesboro
Population: 121

Willey, Iowa
Willey, Iowa
Population: 88

Ralston, Iowa
Ralston, Iowa
Population: 79

Mt. Carmel, Iowa
Mt. Carmel, Iowa – I don’t even know what Mt. Carmel is, it isn’t listed as an unincorporated community, but it isn’t exactly a ghost town either, but it does exist.

Carrollton, Iowa
Carrollton, Iowa – Ghost Town

It is very obvious that Carroll has the worst town sign in Carroll County, and it isn’t even close. Although Breda’s sign is pretty terrible. As is the sign for Arcadia and Lidderdale.

There are some really good town signs in Carroll County though. Manning has a great sign, but I have no clue why Manning is refreshing. Templeton, also has a great and clever town sign, with the tie in to their local distillery. However, the best town sign in Carroll County is pretty obvious:

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids – Carroll County Best in Show – The best part, that ear of corn spins!!!

Some of these towns did have alternate town signs I’d like to share:

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids – Alternate

Lanesboro, Iowa
Lanesboro – Alternate #1

Lanesboro, Iowa
Lanesboro – Alternate #2

Templeton, Iowa
Templeton – Alternate

Also, while I was on this trip I found an alternate sign for the Greene County sign of Scranton:

Scranton, Iowa
Scranton – Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Coon Rapids


Scranton, Iowa
#10. Scranton

Boone, Iowa
#9. Boone

Liscomb, Iowa
#8. Liscomb

Dexter, Iowa
#7. Dexter

Templeton, Iowa
#6. Templeton

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
#4. Farnhamville

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#3. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#2. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#1. Coon Rapids

The next county we will visit is Crawford County.


  1. 1. So, not sure how to say it. But the pillars on the side of the Arcadia sign look like weiners.

    2. I sort of wish Templeton mentioned that there’s booze in them there barrels.

    3. That’s amazing that the corn spins. The Coon Rapids sign is definitely best.

  2. So my website is set to automatically close the Comments section on a post when it hits 30 days old because otherwise I sometimes get Spam comments on really old posts. And I don’t like dealing with Spam. I don’t know if there is a way to open up one posts Comments section, but I don’t know it is worth the effort, so I’m going to respond to a Comment you made a on a post that is now over 30 days old here:


    “I think maybe Steve started right toward the end of my tenure? I’ve heard that overnight oats are fantastic. I don’t even eat enough regular oatmeal anymore, I need to. I think dates and figs are related, too? That also sounds right to me. (But I just googled – apparently not, they just dry similarly? ) I think figs are grittier texture and that is why I don’t love them?

    I will have to ask Jon’s brother to see the secret basement if/when we make it up!

    I think that’s probably fair with me – I sort of just let the ones that don’t really matter do whatever comes naturally, if that makes sense. Some of my most important friendships (Kristal, Shannon) are more distant just due to geography and time – but I am also terrible about texting. I’m good at responding, but terrible at initiating. Same with various messenger services. I don’t Facebook much (although I do post stuff for family), I didn’t reinstall Snapchat. Only check Twitter every few days, and usually just for news. I like Instagram a lot, but am not great about updating it or checking it. I like this blog!”

    Steve is a vegan and big time health guy, so I had one of his overnight oats creations once and it was crazy delicious, but when he gave me the recipe, it was also crazy expensive to make. Plus, it involved a date. Dates aren’t the easiest to find in Boone, but Hy-Vee started stocking them on the regular recently. Or a greater possibility is that I stumbled across where they stock dates.

    I was making them for awhile because I was trying to save money on eating out at work. I never made anything as good as Steve though. But haven’t made them forever because I work from home and don’t see the point. That being said, I think they could make a really good road trip snack. Only on the road trips I go on now, I search out Hardee’s for breakfast. Since I only have restaurant food, maybe twice a week. Subway drive-thru. Every other Friday night I order Casey’s pizza. And if I’m town sign harvesting, I might hit a Hardee’s drive-thru for breakfast. Although, sadly, if I’m out late enough for lunch (I usually leave pretty early in the morning and am home by lunch) I might seek out a KFC. I haven’t had KFC in over 3 years now. Maybe longer.

    Now that it is about an hour drive to the first town that I’m harvesting, the trips do take longer. I stopped at a gas station in Dows for lunch last Saturday because I knew the gas station sold Godfather’s pizza. Man, I miss me some Godfather’s. They don’t have an overnight oats flavor though.

    But yes, I have loathed Facebook for years. At this point, I just consider it right-wing propaganda. A half-step above Parler. Or what Parler used to be. Snicker. But Instagram is my favorite to use because it is just pictures. For the most part “memes” are kept to “Stories”, so they aren’t quite as annoying. I use Twitter to see what is going on in the world and then most post stuff I want to see later or don’t want to lose.

    Okay, so Carroll County…

    1. You know, I never noticed the phallic nature of the Arcadia pillars. But you are the second person to mention it. And, so I did go look at them. Yep. Very much like weiners. So maybe I should give that sign more credit.

    2. I think the term “spirit” is as close as you’re going to get to the mention of booze. Although Templeton, Coon Rapids, and Manning is a nice little stretch of towns there. I definitely want to visit them again, once the pandemic is over. Coon Rapids has a sculpture garden. Manning still has a brick main street and some cool German looking buildings. And even though I don’t drink, I would like to visit the Templeton distillery. Plus, they have a nice little downtown.

    3. I know!! I really should’ve gotten some video of it! Maybe next time I’m in the area. As strange as it sounds, the Coon Rapids bowling alley is supposed to have really good food. I’m not sure if it is still open though. It looked pretty closed when I drove by, but maybe looks were deceiving or it will be back after the pandemic. It is going to be hard to top a spinning ear of corn. Is the search over for the best town sign in Iowa?

  3. Comments. Oh do l have comments. That corn sign knocking Moingona from the top spot. That’s is too corny for words. But I will say that ear of corn should be shucked for that. I guess since the Stanhope sign still says Watermelon Days 2017, does that mean there hasn’t been a watermelon day since? As for that Arcadia sign, could the way it’s constructed be interpreted in an entirely and somewhat embarrassing way? Just some random thoughts pulled from I have no idea where.

  4. I knew you would take Moingona knocked from the top spot pretty hard, but it isn’t personal. It is just facts and my commitment to the truth. It will be hard for somebody to knock off the Coon Rapids sign from the top spot, but there are still almost 90 counties to go. I have harvested 2 more counties that are sitting in the hopper, but nothing as great as a spinning ear of corn. I look forward to the pandemic being over, so you can go along on one of the sign harvesting missions.

    The Stanhope sign is a couple of years old, so I’m sure they have updated the year on Watermelon Days.

    You are not the first person to point out the phallic nature of the Arcadia sign. Perhaps it was intentional? If so, I’ll give what is otherwise a pretty boring sign more respect.

    I still need to interview about your uncle in the future.

  5. The only Hardees I’ve had at all recently was up in Ellsworth. We also hit one at a big truck stop on our way to Galva when we buried my grandma’s ashes, just because we needed a moment – maybe in Holstein? I don’t even know where to find a KFC. I assume Des Moines has several. We will occasionally get delivery or drive-thru, just because that is a lot of cooking for Jon in any given week.

    I do enjoy that there’s not as much fluff on Instagram. And I have started watching embroidery videos there because I find it soothing. I know that sounds weird, but watching someone make something from start to finish in fast time is calming.

    1. Sorry to be crass, but it was my first thought. It’s my hope that someone who wanted to not get a corporate sign was put in charge of getting together the brick monstrosity, so they went with weiner sign as a secret middle finger.

    2. I almost never drink, but I’d also enjoy touring the distillery. My parents took us on a wine tour in WI when I was in early high school, which I found inappropriate even at the time, but the science is interesting. I didn’t know Coon Rapids has a sculpture garden? We’ve kicked around something like that here, but didn’t think it was attainable.

    3. No lie, sometimes bowling alleys have secretly awesome fried food. You’re not probably going to find a great Caesar salad or anything there, but I’ve had some great burgers and fries in bowling alleys in my youth. The same has not been true of roller skating rinks, sadly.

  6. Actually got breakfast from the Ellsworth Hardee’s on Saturday. It was actually the worst Hardee’s breakfast I’ve had in a long time, but to be expected as interstate restaurants are usually lower quality. That being said, it was still a tasty breakfast.

    Not gonna judge. People find all sorts of stuff soothing.

    The Coon Bowl has won for either best Burger or Best Tenderloin in the state, but I believe that they have been nominated in both categories. I’ve never went, because a thought Coon Rapids was farther away than it actually is. I think it was about an hour drive from Boone.

    I think there is a KFC in Ankeny. But I know they are definitely still in Des Moines. I also would gladly destroy some Long John’s if I come across one in the wild.

    The Coon Rapids sculpture garden isn’t huge, but I’d guess there was about 15 sculptures there. I would’ve checked it out more, but it was pretty snowed over there. Eventually, I will post a few pictures from there though.

    Maybe the Arcadia double phallus sign isn’t an accident. Maybe the people in that town like to swing. Maybe it is some kind of international symbol for swingers.

    Skating Rinks. Olivia’s cousin actually owns Spinning Wheels now. Or at least did about a year ago. I assume he still does. If you’ve never heard of it, Minburn has a very interesting history with roller skaters. You should look into it.

  7. Yeah, the Ellsworth Hardees is not as quality as the others, for sure. I assume they’re just too busy to keep their A game going?

    I didn’t know Coon Rapids was so close! I assumed it was a lot farther away. I wonder if you have a Tenderloin “Best Of” list anywhere? The “Des Loines” blog seems to be defunct.

    I want to say that I saw an LJS on SW 82/84 whatever that street is in DSM? This was a while ago, though, so it might be closed. I’m curious if Abelardos got a volume discount by buying up several of them.

    Even 15 sculptures is pretty good on a small (presumably) budget! We have $15k to spend each year to put sculptures in neighborhoods, almost exclusively from the artists who submit to our Ames Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit. That usually covers between 3 and 6 sculptures, depending on how expensive the submitted options were. So getting 15 in there is pretty impressive, unless they had it somehow donated by an artist or a rich donor!

    That is brilliant. Maybe look around and see if members are swinging their keys around when they walk down the street. I assume that’s a sign of being open to a key party. (I don’t know if key parties were/are even a real thing – it seems like a really dumb idea when everyone’s keys looked largely the same in the 70s.)

    I didn’t know it was Olivia’s cousin who owned it! We went to a skating party for a friend of Alice’s… two or three years ago? I thought I broke my tailbone, but only sprained it badly and my wrist. I do not have the ability to skate it anymore.

    Googling Minburn now!

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