Town Sign Project: Union County

Union County is the last county of I completed with my Mom. We went through a few counties on that road trip, so there are still a couple individual town signs from that trip to share, but Union County is the final county that we took to completion.

I had a certain degree of expectations for Union County, despite the fact that it is commonly held knowledge that the closer you get to Missouri the more wore down and ragged the towns in Iowa became. That being said, I am a fan of the Union. I live on Union Street. Whenever I watch a Civil War movie, I openly root for the Union. Not everybody does. Some people root for the Confederacy. Those people are known as racists.

I’m also very pro-union, as it applies to organized labor. Even though I don’t currently have the ability to join a union at my current day job. However, my Dad was very pro-union and because of the strength of the UAW while he was alive, my Mom continued to receive benefits from John Deere her entire life.

My key takeaway from our trip to Union County is that Creston is a hidden gem. I loved Creston and would like to visit again some day.

Here are some facts about Union County:
+ The population is 12,534.
+ The county seat and largest city is Creston.
+ The county was organized in 1853 and named for the union that people wanted to preserve.
+ Major highways in the county are: US 34, US 169, and IA 25.
+ Surrounding counties are Adair, Madison, Clarke, Ringgold, and Adams.
+ Population peaked in 1900 at 19,928.

Even though Creston has lots of great art and architecture, the Union County Courthouse isn’t great:

Union County Courthouse
Union County Courthouse in Creston

The Union County Freedom Rock is located in Creston, near an old-timey gas station:

Union County Freedom Rock

Union County Freedom Rock

Union County Freedom Rock

Union County Freedom Rock

Here is the Union County Photo Map:

Union County Photo Map
Union County Photo Map – Boundaries are not close.

With Union County conquered, here is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


18 counties completed. 18.2% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Union County:

Creston, Iowa
Creston, Iowa
Welcome to Creston
Population: 7,834

Afton, Iowa
Afton, Iowa
Welcome to Afton
Population: 845

Lorimor, Iowa
Lorimor, Iowa
Welcome to Lorimor – Est. 1887 – “Where The Mississippi & Missouri Divide!”
Population: 560

Cromwell, Iowa
Cromwell, Iowa
Cromwell Next 3 Exits
Population – 107

Arispe, Iowa
Arispe, Iowa
Welcome to Arispe, Iowa – Est. 1887
Population: 100

Shannon City, Iowa
Shannon City, Iowa
Shannon City
Population: 90

Thayer, Iowa
Thayer, Iowa
Population: 59

Union County and Madison County really remind me of each other. They both have great towns for their county seats, but also some of the worst towns I’ve ever seen. That is probably the Missouri Proximity Factor. It is hard to pick a worse town sign between Shannon City and Thayer, since neither one really has one. I took the Shannon City sign before I stopped accepting DOT signs as town signs, although now I’m rethinking that policy. The Thayer town sign is a railroad sign. Not really a town sign at all. That bridge in the background in that picture. I wouldn’t ride over that thing on a bike. I would say tied for last.

I don’t think Union County has a strong batch of signs, but a couple are at least good. Afton, Lorimor, and Arispe all have good signs. But I’m going to give Union County Best in Show to Creston. Maybe because I just was surprised by how much I like Creston.

Creston, Iowa
Creston – Best in Show – Union County

A couple towns had alternate signs:

Creston, Iowa
Creston Alternate

Creston, Iowa
Creston Alternate

Afton, Iowa
Afton Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:

Audubon, Iowa
Best in Show – Audubon County

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Ricketts, Iowa
Best in Show – Crawford County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Popejoy, Iowa
Best in Show – Franklin County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Menlo, Iowa
Best in Show – Guthrie County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

East Peru, Iowa
Best in Show – Madison County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Creston, Iowa
Best in Show – Union County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

I’m going to suspend the Bennett Power Rankings.

I have not completed any other counties at this time, so I don’t know what the next county I share will be.

One thought on “Town Sign Project: Union County”

  1. I also like the Creston sign. I DON’T love the actual Thayer sign, but I like your photo of it. The railroad ending right before it was sort of symbolic.

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