Town Sign Project: Calhoun County

Here is Part 2 in the story of my Grandma Bennett’s second marriage.

Jealous Woman Shoots Ex-Boone Man
Sioux City, Jan. 12

Maurice Handschin, 37, packing house worker, was in critical condition in a Sioux City hospital today after being shot through the body last, night assertedly by Mrs. Martell McPeek, 29.

Police said Mrs. McPeek, enraged because she hoped to wed Handschin, who married another woman 10 days ago, forced her way into his home while Hanschin and his bride were eating dinner, took a revolver from her purse and fired twice. One bullet struck him in the abdomen.

Transfusions were given Handschin in an effort to save his life.

From Boone

Mrs. McPeek said she had made plans to divorce her husband and marry Handschin. Mrs. Handschin whose 7-year-old daughter witnessed the shooting, came to Sioux City a few days ago from Boone, Iowa, where she obtained a divorce four years ago.

As physicians were dressing Handschin’s wounds in his home, Mrs. McPeek stood calmly beside him and said: “I’m sorry Maurice, but I just couldn’t stand it.”

Bud Ackerly, who brought Mrs. McPeek to Handschin’s home in his automobile, rushed into the house after hearing the shots and wrested the gun from her. He was not held.

Filing of charges was delayed pending outcome of Handschin’s condition.

Married Here

Acquaintances here Friday said Mrs. Handschin is the former Mrs. Bernice Kessler of Boone who was married to Handschin here about 10 days ago. They said she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O.M. Needham. Handschin formerly lived here.

Held in Jail

Maurice Handschin, 37, a packing house worker, was in critical condition today from bullet wounds police said were inflicted by Mrs. Martelle McPeek, 29, in the presence of his bride of twelve days.

The shooting occurred last night at Handchin’s home. Before his marriage at Boone, January 1st, Handschin had lived for six years at the McPeek home.

Police said the woman was enraged because Handschin did not marry her. She is being held in jail.

Here is the newspaper article:

Part 3 of the story tomorrow.


A few Saturdays back I took a solo trip to Calhoun County to harvest their town sign collection. I would have to say, at the aggregate level, Calhoun County might have the strongest collection of town signs. It is definitely a Top 3 County on a list that I haven’t made and have no intention of making.

Here are some facts about Calhoun County:

+ Population is 9,744 (2019 estimate). Making it the 76th most populous county in Iowa. Below Sac County and above Humboldt County.
+ The county seat is Rockwell City.
+ The largest town is Lake City.
+ Was formed on January 15, 1851 from land originally named Fox County.
+ Named for John C. Calhoun, the 7th Vice President (Jackson), Senator, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and U.S. Representative. An absolute terrible human being and maybe the worst person to have an Iowa County named for them. Really, Calhoun County should go back to being Fox County. Calhoun was such a terrible person that Andrew Jackson (also a terrible human being) regretted not having him executed. Calhoun was Jackson’s Vice President!
+ Home of the Manson crater, here an asteroid or comet nucleus struck the Earth during the Cretaceous Period, approximately 74 Ma (million years ago). It was one of the largest known impact events to have happened in North America.
+ Major highways are: US-20, IA-4, IA-7, and IA-175.
+ Adjacent counties are: Pocahontas, Webster, Greene, Carroll, and Sac.
+ Population peaked in 1900 at 18,569.

Calhoun County has a gorgeous courthouse:

Calhoun County Courthouse
The Calhoun Courthouse in Rockwell City, Iowa

The Calhoun County Freedom Rock is located in Rockwell City, Iowa:

Calhoun County Freedom Rock

Calhoun County Freedom Rock

Calhoun County Freedom Rock

Calhoun County Freedom Rock

With Calhoun County conquered, this is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:

Town Sign Project - 28 Counties

28 counties completed. 28.3% of the Cyclone State conquered.

Here are the town signs of Calhoun County:

Lake City, Iowa
Lake City, Iowa
Population: 1,727

Rockwell City, Iowa
Rockwell City, Iowa
Population: 1,709

Manson, Iowa
Manson, Iowa

Pomeroy, Iowa
Pomeroy, Iowa
We Welcome You for a Day or a Lifetime!
Population: 662

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
Farnhamville, Iowa
Population: 371

Lohrville, Iowa
Lohrville, Iowa
Better Not Bigger
Population: 368

Lytton, Iowa
Lytton, Iowa
Population: 315

Somers, Iowa
Somers, Iowa
Welcome to Somers
Population: 113

Knierim, Iowa
Knierim, Iowa
Welcome To KNIERIM
Population: 60

Rinard, Iowa
Rinard, Iowa
Population: 52

Jolley, Iowa
Jolley, Iowa
Population: 41

Yetter, Iowa
Yetter, Iowa
Population: 34

Calhoun County seems like a good county to answer a few questions that have been thrown my way recently. One question is:

Question 1: If a town doesn’t have an obvious town sign, what is the hierarch for finding a substitute/alternate to a traditional town sign?

The rankings go like this:

1. Townhall Sign
2. Community Center Sign
3. Post Office Sign
4. Park Sign
5. School Sign
6. City Limits Town Sign
7. Town Bulletin Board
8. Railroad Sign
9. Bike Trail Sign
10. Sign on a Mailbox (apparently)

Then way down at the bottom…

Dead Last: DOT Sign

Another question I’ve received a couple times late is:

Question 2: If a town has multiple town signs, how do you determine which one is the primary town sign and which ones are alternate town signs?

Answer: The primary town sign is the indicated mostly by geography. It is the first town sign you see when you come into town. If the town has different town signs as you enter the town from different directions, then the primary town sign is determined by which town sign resides on the road that is the busiest. What road would most people come into town on? For example for Boone, that would be US-30. One more factor is who put the sign up? Is it a church welcoming people into the town or was it put up by the town itself. The sign put up by the town itself is the winner for primary town sign.

Now that you have that information, it is time to answer the question of what town has the worst town sign in Calhoun County. I think that is pretty clearly Rinard. It is just an interestingly scrolled set of words on the shelter of their park. Having to use a townhall sign for Yetter also isn’t great.

But the real question is, who wins Best in Show for Calhoun County? There are many great town signs in Calhoun County. At one time I though Farnhamville would be the runaway winner. However, Pomeroy has a great sign. Jolley has a great sign. Lake City has a great slogan on their sign, but the design is a bit boring. It might come as a surprise. Maybe a bit of an upset, but I’m giving best town sign to Manson.

Manson, Iowa
Manson – Best in Show – Calhoun County

There were many towns in Calhoun County that had alternate signs. Here are the alternate signs of Calhoun County:

Yetter, Iowa
Yetter – Alternate

Rockwell City, Iowa
Rockwell City – Alternate

Pomeroy, Iowa
Pomeroy – Alternate

Manson, Iowa
Manson – Alternate

Manson, Iowa
Manson – Alternate
Jolley, Iowa
Jolley – Alternate

Lohrville, Iowa
Lohrville – Alternate

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - West Side
Back of Farnhamville Sign

Farnhamville, Iowa #2
Farnhamville – Alternate

Farnhamville, Iowa #1
Farnhamville – Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:

Fontanelle, Iowa
Best in Show – Adair County

Audubon, Iowa
Best in Show – Audubon County

Norway, Iowa
Best in Show – Benton County

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Manson, Iowa
Best in Show – Calhoun County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Murray, Iowa
Best in Show – Clarke 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

Beaman, Iowa
Best in Show – Grundy County

Menlo, Iowa
Best in Show – Guthrie County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Bradgate, iowa
Best in Show – Humboldt County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

Lucas, Iowa
Best in Show – Lucas County

East Peru, Iowa
Best in Show – Madison County

Pleasantville, Iowa
Best in Show – Marion County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Malcom, Iowa
Best in Show – Poweshiek County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Tama, Iowa
Best in Show – Tama County

Creston, Iowa
Best in Show – Union County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

The next time we check in on THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Sac County.

6 thoughts on “Town Sign Project: Calhoun County”

  1. There used to be a better sign for Rockwell City. Maybe next time I’m in the area, I’ll see if I can track it down. It was on old highway 20 as entering town from the east.

    Also, I’m really glad I got to be with you when we found a town with town DOT sign, but a sign on a mailbox.

  2. I was going to be pissed if Manson wasn’t the choice.

    My biological dad lived in Rinard for a couple of years, a couple of blocks away from that grey building. I love how small towns rarely change.

  3. Shannon,

    I’m sure I will be through Rockwell City again on my way to or from a NW County at some point, so if I see it, I’ll let you know. But I do appreciate any work my scouts can do.

    Incidentally, Rockwell City was the setting for the final installment of the story of my Grandma Bennett’s brief second marriage.

    Let me know if you have any interest in doing another county with me. I’m not even sure what the next county I’m going to travel to will be. Might have to figure that out tonight.

    The Spring Hill thing was so bizarre. It definitely felt very cult. And I have been to the cult compound of the Branch Davidians, so I know what that feels like.


    Pissed? I love the passion! Maybe when I turn this into a book, there will be a market for it. I now remember that you wanted to go to Calhoun County with me. Maybe we can find another county for that, if your schedule allows?

    Manson was certainly helped by having John Deere tractors for the background. All small Iowa towns should have either a Casey’s, a cornfield, or John Deere tractors for their background.

    There definitely wasn’t much to Rinard besides that park. I don’t think there was a single business in town. Not even a bar!

  4. I believe there’s an elevator mural in Fort Diggity that we could also hit! Have you gotten the liberty stone in Webster Co?

  5. I do have the Liberty Stone for Webster County. Published that on Sunday.

    That mural is pretty cool. We could definitely hit that. I want to take some drone photography of it, even though, that is legally questionable.

  6. I absolutely remember that now that you mention it, as I looked especially at that one. So sorry.

    I don’t think Fort Dodge really strictly enforces ANY laws, if memory serves me correctly! It’s like the “Mild Mild West” up there. I’m going to guess you’d be fine!

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