Town Sign Project: Humboldt County

A few Saturdays back I took a solo trip around Humboldt County to harvest their town sign collection. Humboldt is one of the smaller counties when it comes to square miles, but it still manages to pack 13 incorporated towns in. It really should be a bigger county but the people of Webster County are jerks. Probably the people of Kossuth County too.

Here are some facts about Humboldt County:

+ Current population is 9,554 (2019 Estimate), making it the 77th most populous county. Below Calhoun County and above Emmet County.
+ The county seat is Dakota City.
+ The largest town is Humboldt.
+ Was formed in 1857.
+ Named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German polymath, geographer, naturalist, and explorer.
+ Major highways are: US-69, IA-3, IA-15, and IA-17.
+ Adjacent counties are Kossuth, Wright, Webster, and Pocahontas.
+ Peak population was 13,459 in 1940.

Humboldt County has a pretty nondescript courthouse, that is hidden behind trees:

Humboldt County Courthouse
The Humboldt County Courthouse in Dakota City, Iowa.

The Humboldt County Freedom Rock is located in Livermore, Iowa:

Humboldt County Freedom Rock

Humboldt County Freedom Rock

Humboldt County Freedom Rock

Humboldt County Freedom Rock

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

Town Sign Project - 27 Counties

27 counties completed. 27.3% of the Cyclone State conquered.

Here are the town signs of Humboldt County:

Humboldt, Iowa
Humboldt, Iowa
Welcome to Humboldt – Established 1863
Population: 4,690

Dakota City, Iowa
Dakota City, Iowa
Welcome to Dakota City – est. 1858
Population: 843

Gilmore City, Iowa
Gilmore City, Iowa
Iowa’s Limestone Capital – Gilmore City Welcomes You
Population: 504

Livermore, Iowa
Livermore, Iowa
Welcome to Livermore – EST. 1879
Population: 504

Bode, Iowa
Bode, Iowa
Welcome to Bode – Since 1881
Population: 302

Lu Verne, Iowa
Lu Verne, Iowa
Welcome to Lu Verne – Come Again
Population: 261

Renwick, Iowa
Renwick, Iowa
There’s Only One Renwick – It’s In Iowa
Population: 242

Thor, Iowa
Thor, Iowa
Welcome to Thor
Population: 186

Rutland, Iowa
Rutland, Iowa
Population: 126

Bradgate, iowa
Bradgate, Ioa
Bradgate – Est. 1882 – “The Town That Wouldn’t Die”
Population: 86

Ottosen, Iowa
Ottosen, Iowa
Welcome to Ottosen – Est. 1896
Population: 55

Hardy, Iowa
Hardy, Iowa
Welcome to Hardy – Est. 1881 – Please Drive Carefully – A Small Town With A Big Heart
Population: 47

Pioneer, Iowa
Pioneer, Iowa
Population: 23

Humboldt County has a pretty solid collection of signs. None of them might not be that spectacular, but it is definitely solid. The worst one is obviously Pioneer. Pioneer is one of those towns that just gives you a really creepy vibe while you are there. Like Beaver and Thayer and Patterson and Shannon City. It is more than just their size. I’ve been in plenty of towns just as small and unincorporated towns that are even smaller that don’t give a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe off. Pioneer definitely does. I don’t know how it is incorporated. There is no town hall or community buildings at all, as near as I could find. It is over 50 percent junkyard and the rest is mostly grain elevators. I’m sure it didn’t help that I was listening to a THIS AMERICAN LIFE episode on Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers that was fairly disturbing. Diana was never caught woman that murdered a couple of bus drivers in Juarez. Apparently bus drivers in that part of the world are notorious for “disappearing” young women.

Diana sent the following email to a news organization:

You think that because we are women we are weak, and that may be true but only up to a point, because even though we have nobody to defend us and we have to work long hours until late into the night to earn a living for our families we can no longer be silent in the face of these acts that enrage us. We were victims of sexual violence from bus drivers working the maquila night shifts here in Juárez, and although a lot of people know about the things we’ve suffered, nobody defends us nor does anything to protect us. That’s why I am an instrument that will take revenge for many women. For we are seen as weak, but in reality we are not. We are brave. And if we don’t get respect, we will earn that respect with our own hands. We the women of Juárez are strong.

Any ways, Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers is now linked in my brain with the town of Pioneer. Perhaps not fairly, but that is the way it goes. (NPR is one of the rituals that goes with Saturday Town Sign Harvesting.)

But who has the best town sign in Humboldt County. There are some solid contenders. Gilmore city has a great sign. So does Bode. So does Thor, although I was hoping for a little more. I also really like Renwick’s sign. But I’m going to give it to Bradgate (even though my picture of it is pretty lousy) because for some reason, there is a tank on it.

Bradgate, iowa
Bradgate – Best in Show – Humboldt County

A few towns had alternate signs. Here are the alternate town signs of Humboldt County:

Renwick, Iowa
Renwick – Alternate

Ottosen, Iowa

Lu Verne, Iowa
Lu Verne – Alternate

Livermore, Iowa
Livermore – Alternate

Livermore, Iowa
Livermore – Alternate

Gilmore City, Iowa
Gilmore City – 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

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 we check in on THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Calhoun County.