Town Sign Project: Johnson County

I don’t want to get into too much of how much effort it takes on the backend of this website to make the part of the website you see. But for every picture that is submitted to THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE, it takes about 5 minutes of work to prepare that picture and put it on the website, so the rest of the world can see it.

Every once in awhile, I can jack something up in that 5 minute span. Despite my extensive use of a proofreader and a QA department. Yesterday, that happened with Elizabeth’s picture for Circle. It would take a long time to explain what happened, but the short version is, something bad. It might have been karma. Monkey Bread Hoax Karma.

Therefore, enjoy Elizabeth’s picture now:

Elizabeth Nordeen

Lot of circles in that pictures!

My apologies. It will probably happen again.

One thing I forgot to mention about THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE for this week is that next Monday is Labor Day. While the government and schools and banks take the day off, there are no days off for Photography 139. The struggle is real! But I might not be in a position to send out any reminders. Plan your submissions accordingly!


A couple months back I made it back to Johnson County to harvest the rest of their town signs. I took the majority of the Johnson County signs back in April when a family member was at the University of Iowa Hospital having surgery. Only one person was allowed in with them and I was the odd person out. Mostly because of my lack of medical knowledge. I spent the time waiting for the surgery to be over driving around Johnson County. Then I came back several months later and harvested the last two signs.

Here are some facts about Johnson County:
+ Population is 150,819 making it the 4th most populous county in Iowa. Below Scott County and above Black Hawk County.
+ The largest town and county seat is Iowa City.
+ Established in 1837.
+ This is pretty cool. Originally named after US Vice President Richard M. Johnson. As his name implies, he was a dick. Slave owner. Used the fact that he may have (but may not have) killed Shawnee Chief Tecumseh to political advantage. In 2020 the County Board of Supervisors changed the county namesake to Lulu Merle Johnson. The first black woman in the state to get her doctorate. Only the second in the United States. Making Johnson County the only county in Iowa named after an African-American and only the second named after a woman. (By my math.) On the other hand, there are several named after vile racists.
+ Home of the second largest university in the state, the University of Iowa. The first public university in the United States to admit men and women on an equal basis.
+ Birthplace of Ashley Joens. The greatest basketball player in Iowa State women’s basketball history.
+ Major highways are: I-80, I-380, US-6, US-218, IA-1, IA-22, and IA-27.
+ Adjacent counties are: Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Linn, Muscatine, Louisa, and Washington.
+ Currently at peak population.

The Johnson County Courthouse is beautiful. Possibly Top 10. Maybe Top 5. Well Top 10.

Johnson County Courthouse
The Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Johnson County Freedom Rock is located in Solon, Iowa.

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

Johnson County Freedom Rock

With Johnson County completed, here is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:

Town Sign Project - 86 Counties

86 counties completed. 86.9% of the Cyclone State conquered!

West Branch is in Johnson County, but mostly in Cedar County. I shared the West Branch sign when I shared the Cedar County signs.

Here are the town signs of Johnson County:

Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Population: 74,828 (+10,966)

Coralville, Iowa
Coralville, Iowa
welcome to CORALVILLE
Population: 22,318 (+3,411)

North Liberty, Iowa
North Liberty, Iowa
Population: 20,479 (+7,105)

Tiffin, Iowa
Tiffin, Iowa
Population: 4,512 (+2,565)

Solon, Iowa
Solon, Iowa
Population: 3,018 (+981)

Lone Tree, Iowa
Lone Tree, Iowa
Population: 1,357 (+57)

University Heights, Iowa
University Heights, Iowa
Population: 1,228 (+177)

Swisher, Iowa
Swisher, Iowa
Population: 914 (+35)

Hills, Iowa
Hills, Iowa
Population: 863 (+160)

Shueyville, Iowa
Shueyville, Iowa
Welcome to THE TOWN OF Shueyville
EST. 1855
Population: 731 (+154)

Oxford, Iowa
Oxford, Iowa
Population: 722 (-85)

Sutliff, Iowa - Unincorporated
Sutliff, Iowa – Unincorporated

Clearly the worst town sign in Johnson County is the sign for University Heights. Basically just a DOT sign.

But what gets Best of Show. What gets the purple ribbon. I like the sign from Shueyville and Swisher and Oxford, but this one is pretty obvious. It is Lone Tree:

Lone Tree, Iowa
Lone Tree – Best in Show – Johnson County

There are a couple of alternate town signs in Johnson County:

Hills, Iowa
Hills – Alternate

Lone Tree, Iowa
Lone Tree – Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:

Fontanelle, Iowa
Best in Show – Adair County

Nodaway, Iowa
Best in Show – Adams County

Harpers Ferry, Iowa
Best in Show – Allamakee County

Centerville, Iowa
Best in Show – Appanoose County

Audubon, Iowa
Best in Show – Audubon County

Norway, Iowa
Best in Show – Benton County

Gilbertville, Iowa
Best in Show – Black Hawk County

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Readlyn, Iowa
Best in Show – Bremer County

Stanley, Iowa
Best in Show – Buchanan County

Storm Lake, Iowa
Best in Show – Buena Vista 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

Lowden, Iowa
Best in Show – Cedar County

Dougherty, Iowa
Best in Show – Cerro Gordo County

Washta, Iowa
Best in Show – Cherokee County

Fredericksburg, Iowa
Best in Show – Chickasaw County

Murray, Iowa
Best in Show – Clarke County

Rossie, Iowa
Best in Show – Clay County

Low Moor, Iowa
Best in Show – Clinton County

Ricketts, Iowa
Best in Show – Crawford County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Weldon, Iowa
Best in Show – Decatur County

Oneida, Iowa - Unincorporated
Best in Show – Delaware County

Terril, Iowa
Terril – Best in Show – Dickinson County
Best in Show – Dickinson County

Ringsted, Iowa
Best in Show – Emmet County

Clermont, Iowa
Best in Show – Fayette County

Marble Rock, Iowa
Best in Show – Floyd 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

Modale, Iowa
Best in Sow – Harrison County

Lime Springs, Iowa
Best in Show – Howard County

Bradgate, iowa
Best in Show – Humboldt County

Ida Grove, Iowa
Best in Show – Ida County

Millersburg, Iowa
Best in Show – Iowa County

La Motte, Iowa
Best in Show – Jackson County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

Lone Tree, Iowa
Best in Show – Johnson County

Anamosa, Iowa
Best in Show – Jones County

Webster, Iowa
Best in Show – Keokuk County

Titonka, Iowa
Best in Show – Kossuth County

Springville, Iowa
Best in Show – Linn County

Lucas, Iowa
Best in Show – Lucas County

George, Iowa
Best in Show – Lyon County

East Peru, Iowa
Best in Show – Madison County

Leighton, Iowa
Best in Show – Mahaska County

Pleasantville, Iowa
Best in Show – Marion County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Malvern, Iowa
Best in Show – Mills County

Riceville, Iowa
Best in Show – Mitchell County

Onawa, Iowa
Best in Show – Monona County

Melrose, Iowa
Best in Show – Monroe County

Grant, Iowa
Best in Show – Montgomery County

Paullina, Iowa
Best in Show – O’Brien County

Melvin, Iowa
Best in Show – Osceola County

College Springs, Iowa
Best in Show – Page County

Mallard, Iowa
Best in Show – Palo Alto County

Kingsley, Iowa
Best in Show – Plymouth County

Plover, Iowa
Best in Show – Pocahontas County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Walnut, Iowa
Best in Show – Pottawattamie 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

Orange City, Iowa
Best in Show – Sioux 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

Humeston, Iowa
Best in Show – Wayne County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Buffalo Center, Iowa
Best in Show – Winnebago County

Castalia, Iowa
Best in Show – Winneshiek County

Sloan, Iowa
Best in Show – Woodbury County

Joice, Iowa
Best in Show – Worth County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

Next time we hit the open road for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT we will be visiting Washington County.