Town Sign Project: Decatur County

The February image from the 2022 Photography 139 Calendar is a macro image of an allium from my Mom’s yard just starting to bloom.

2022 Calendar - February

Tomorrow I will share the March image.


A few weeks back Vest and I loaded up in the car and toured around Decatur County harvesting their town signs.

Here are some facts about Decatur County:

+ The population is 7,645 making it the 86th most populous county in Iowa. Behind Lucas County and above Monroe County.
+ The county seat is Leon.
+ The largest town is Lamoni.
+ Was organized in 1850.
+ Named after Stephen Decatur, a naval hero from the War of 1812.
+ Home of Graceland University.
+ Home of the smallest incorporated town in Iowa (tied).
+ Major highways are I-35, US-69, and IA-2.
+ Adjacent counties are Clarke, Wayne, and Ringgold.
+ Population peaked in 1920 at 16,566.

The Decatur County Courthouse is pretty cool looking:

Decatur County Courthouse
The Decatur County Courthouse located in Leon, Iowa.

The Decatur County Freedom Rock is located in Leon, Iowa:

Decatur County Freedom Rock

Decatur County Freedom Rock

Decatur County Freedom Rock

Decatur County Freedom Rock

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

Town Sign Project - 50 Counties

50 counties conquered. 50.5% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Decatur County:

Lamoni, Iowa
Lamoni, Iowa
Welcome to Lamoni
Founded 1895
Population: 1,969 (-355)

Leon, Iowa
Leon, Iowa
Population: 1,822 (-155)

Grand River, Iowa
Grand River, Iowa
AUG 20-21
Population: 196 (-40)

Davis City, Iowa
Davis City, Iowa
Population: 179 (-25)

Van Wert, Iowa
Van Wert, Iowa
VAN WERT Community Center
Where friends & family meet
Population: 178 (-52)

Decatur City, Iowa
Decatur City, Iowa
Population: 175 (-22)

Garden Grove, Iowa
Garden Grove, Iowa
Population: 174 (-37)

Weldon, Iowa
Weldon, Iowa
Welcome to WELDON
“Always Home”
Est. 1880
Population: 136 (+9)

Pleasanton, Iowa
Pleasanton, Iowa
1838 2007
A Pleasant Place to Live
Population: 32 (-17)

Leroy, Iowa
Le Roy, Iowa
Est. 1880
Population: 11 (-4)

Decatur County doesn’t have a very good collection of signs. Particularly bad are Van Wert, Davis City, and Grand River, which don’t really have signs so much as signs for their community center or rodeo. When I went through Grand River, the roads around it were heavily under construction and it was difficult to even get into the town, so I will give them some grace. Perhaps there is a sign somewhere that I just couldn’t get to because of all the road construction. I don’t know I’ll get back to Grand River to check that out any time soon though. That area of the state I’ve pretty heavily harvested. However, it isn’t too far from the interstate, so it is something I could check out next time I go to Kansas.

There are a few signs I do really like. Garden Grove has a solid sign. So does Pleasanton. I like the rustic charm of the Decatur City sign. The concrete Leon reminds me of signs I’ve seen in the Flint Hills area of Kansas. Le Roy has a very impressive sign for being a town of 11 people. Although, it will always be confusing to me. Is it Le Roy or is it Leroy? Technically it is Le Roy, so it feels like they misspelled their town name on their own town sign. Which means I’m going to give Best in Show to Weldon. A solid town sign like that is surely the reason that it is the only town in the county that actually gained people between 2010 and 2020.

Weldon, Iowa
Weldon – Best in Show – Decatur County

Two towns had alternate town signs:

Leon, Iowa
Leon – Alternate

Garden Grove, Iowa
Garden Grove – Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:

Fontanelle, Iowa
Best in Show – Adair County

Nodaway, Iowa
Best in Show – Adams County

Audubon, Iowa
Best in Show – Audubon County

Norway, Iowa
Best in Show – Benton County

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Readlyn, Iowa
Best in Show – Bremer County

New Hartford, Iowa
Best in Show – Butler County

Manson, Iowa
Best in Show – Calhoun County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Anita, Iowa
Best in Show – Cass 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

Weldon, Iowa
Best in Show – Decatur County

Popejoy, Iowa
Best in Show – Franklin County

Tabor, Iowa
Best in Show – Fremont 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

Titonka, Iowa
Best in Show – Kossuth 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

Malvern, Iowa
Best in Show – Mills County

Onawa, Iowa
Best in Show – Monona County

Grant, Iowa
Best in Show – Montgomery County

College Springs, Iowa
Best in Show – Page County

Plover, Iowa
Best in Show – Pocahontas County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Malcom, Iowa
Best in Show – Poweshiek County

Maloy, Iowa
Best in Show – Ringgold County

Nemaha, Iowa
Best in Show – Sac County

Elk Horn, Iowa
Best in Show – Shelby County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Tama, Iowa
Best in Show – Tama County

Gravity, Iowa
Best in Show – Taylor County

Creston, Iowa
Best in Show – Union County

New Virginia, Iowa
Best in Show – Warren County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Buffalo Center, Iowa
Best in Show – Winnebago County

Joice, Iowa
Best in Show – Worth County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

The next time we hit the dusty trail for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will end up in Wayne County.

2 thoughts on “Town Sign Project: Decatur County”

  1. I would have voted Le Roy if there were even a slight space between the E and R.

    This was a wildly underwhelming batch of signs, in comparison.

  2. Yeah, I just can’t stomach a misspelled town sign. Can’t figure out how a town so small afforded a sign that expensive. Must be a couple rich people in that town.

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