Town Sign Project: Cerro Gordo County

This Saturday from 8-12 we are going to have the final sale at my Mom’s house. There is still lots of glassware and collectibles for sale. A few tools. Many decorations. Maybe some furniture. Some other stuff will be added this week as well I’m sure. The address is 111 South Benton Street. The sale is in the garage and in the garage only. The garage is on the alley. The alley is a dead end, so don’t come down the alley and try to park. I’ll let you know if any of the details change.


The Thursday before Pufferbilly Days, Jesse and I cruised around north Iowa and harvested the town signs of Cerro Gordo County.

Here are some facts about Cerro Gordo County:
+ Population is 42,834, making it the 14th most populous county in Iowa. Behind Muscatine County and above Marshall County.
+ The largest town and county seat is Mason City.
+ Was formed in 1851.
+ Named after the Battle of Cerro Gordo from the Mexican-American War where General Winfield Scott defeated General Santa Anna.
+ Site of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and their pilot Roger A. Peterson.
+ Location of Music Man Square.
+ Major highways are: I-35, US-18, US-65, IA-27, and IA-122.
+ Adjacent Counties are: Worth, Mitchell, Floyd, Franklin, and Hancock.
+ Peak population was 49,894 in 1960.

The Cerro Gordo Courthouse is hideous:

Cerro Gordo County Courthouse
The Cerro Gordo Courthouse in Mason City, Iowa.

The Cerro Gordo County Courthouse is located in Clear Lake, Iowa:

Cerro Gordo County Freedom Rock

Cerro Gordo County Freedom Rock

Cerro Gordo County Freedom Rock

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

Town Sign Project - 35 Counties

35 counties completed. 35.4% of the Cyclone State conquered.

Here are the town signs of Cerro Gordo County:

Mason City, Iowa
Mason City, Iowa
Welcome to Mason City
Population: 27,338 (-747)

Clear Lake, Iowa
Clear Lake, Iowa
EST. 1871
Population: 7,687 (-90)

Rockwell, Iowa
Rockwell, Iowa
Population: 1,071 (+32)

Ventura, Iowa
Ventura, Iowa
Population: 711 (-6)

Thornton, Iowa
Thornton, Iowa
Population: 400 (-22)

Plymouth, Iowa
Plymouth, Iowa
Population: 375 (-7)

Meservey, Iowa
Meservey, Iowa
Welcome To Meservey
Est. 1886
Population: 222 (-34)

Swaledale, Iowa
Swaledale, Iowa
Population: 144 (-19)

Rock Falls, Iowa
Rock Falls, Iowa
Population: 150 (-5)

Dougherty, Iowa
Dougherty, Iowa
Population: 62 (+4)

Cartersville, Iowa (Unincorporated)
Cartersville, Iowa (Unincorporated)

I don’t know that there is an absolutely terrible sign in this collection. However, I’m going to have to give the worst sign in Cerro Gordo County to Plymouth.

But what gets Best in Show? I’m normally not a big fan of rock signs. They look like tombstones. However, I actually like Ventura’s sign, although I can’t figure out why all the letters are capitalized except the “t”. I love how Rock Falls clearly turned an old DX sign into their town sign. However, it loses some of the luster because Grafton (future post) did the same thing. I have to give Best in Show to Dougherty.

Dougherty, Iowa
Dougherty – Best in Show – Cerro Gordo County

Here are the alternate signs of Cerro Gordo County:

Ventura, Iowa
Ventura – Alternate

Rockwell, Iowa
Rockwell – Alternate

Thornton, Iowa
Thornton – Alternate

Swaledale, Iowa
Swaledale – 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

New Hartford, Iowa
Best in Show – Butler County

Manson, Iowa
Best in Show – Calhoun County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Dougherty, Iowa
Best in Show – Cerro Gordo 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

Britt, Iowa
Best in Show – Hancock County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Bradgate, iowa
Best in Show – Humboldt County

Ida Grove, Iowa
Best in Show – Ida 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

Plover, Iowa
Best in Show – Pocahontas County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Malcom, Iowa
Best in Show – Poweshiek County

Nemaha, Iowa
Best in Show – Sac County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Tama, Iowa
Best in Show – Tama County

Creston, Iowa
Best in Show – Union County

New Virginia, Iowa
Best in Show – Warren County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

The next time we visit THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Worth County.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is JUNK:

Week 313 - Junk

JUNK! What a great theme for Week 8 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what exactly is a JUNK photo. JUNK isn’t necessarily garbage, but it could be. JUNK is defined as things that are useless or of little value. But that doesn’t mean JUNK has no value. Just like the theme reveal image, I bet everybody reading these words has a JUNK drawer. Off the top of my head, I have at least 9 of them and several JUNK bins. So go out and find something that has been set aside because it has little value and give it some value by turning it into art.

And don’t forget that some food is considered JUNK as well. And of course, there are other definitions for the word JUNK. Some more safe for work than others.

Happy photo harvesting.

7 thoughts on “Town Sign Project: Cerro Gordo County”

  1. Is that courthouse also the prison? Because it definitely looks like a prison.

    None of these signs were abysmal, but it was a pretty bleak crew (save for Dougherty).

  2. That was sarcasm, I definitely didn’t expect you to know. It’s the most institutional-looking courthouse yet!

  3. If you think that is terrible, you should checkout the abomination that is the Story County Courthouse!

  4. If I were to make a Courthouse Power Rankings, it would definitely be in the Bottom 5. Audubon and Union are also courthouses I remember as being awful as well off the top of my head.

  5. That might be an interesting ranking to include at the end of the Town Sign Project. Little Alcatraz here has to be somewhere on the list, too.

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