Category Archives: History

Appanoose County Aux – Vol. 1

A few months back I cruised around Appanoose County harvesting their town signs. Found quite a few other things to photograph while I was there. Including, in this collection, a few outhouse pictures. I find the outhouse pictures to be poignant, moving, and funny. But some people might find them disagreeable. But they are not gross. All that being said, you have been warned.


Monroe County - Lovilia
Lovillia

Monroe County - Lovilia

Appanoose County - Moravia
Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia
I’ve also read that this is a myth. More research might be needed.

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia

Appanoose County - Moravia
There are 100 official Freedom Rocks, but there are a few not quite Freedom Rocks out there too.

Appanoose County - Udell
Udell – This bank still has better hours and customer service than my bank.

Appanoose County - Udell

Appanoose County - Unionville
Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville

Appanoose County - Unionville
Heart shaped!

Appanoose County - Unionville

The picture of the Buxton sign is located in Monroe County. Buxton is a fascinating bit of Iowa history. I meant to visit the Buxton ruins once, but I just didn’t trust the road. Some day soon though.

Johnson County Aux

Back in April I made abbreviated cruise around Johnson County harvesting most of their town signs. These are the auxiliary images I took on that trip. A few at the end were taken in Marshall County.


Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County
Not just a bad day for Templars and horny camp counselors?

Johnson County

Johnson County
Next to this bridge is a really cool bar/restaurant. Or I have been told.

Johnson County

Johnson County
If you haven’t written you initials and somebody else’s initials on a lock. Placed it on a bridge and thrown the key over the side, have you really ever been in love?

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

Johnson County

The next time we take to the open road to share auxiliary images from a TOWN SIGN PROJECT road trip, we will visit Appanoose County.

Mitchell and Floyd Aux – Vol. 3

Time for another collection of images from my road trip to Mitchell and Floyd County back in April. This is the final collection of images from this road trip. A few counties are covered in this collection. Mitchell. Floyd. Franklin. Hamilton. All covered. Well at least there are pictures from all of those counties in this collection.


Mitchell County - Osage
Osage

Mitchell County - Osage

Mitchell County - Interstate Park
Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Mitchell
Mitchell

Mitchell County - Osage
Osage

Floyd County - Colwell
Colwell

Floyd County - Colwell

Floyd County - Colwell

Floyd County - Colwell

Floyd County - Charles City
Charles City

Floyd County - Floyd
Floyd

Floyd County - Rockford
Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Fossill & Prairie Center
Fossil & Prairie Center

Floyd County - Fossill & Prairie Center

Floyd County - Fossill & Prairie Center

Floyd County - Marble Rock
Marble Rock

Floyd County - Marble Rock

Floyd County - Marble Rock

Floyd County - Marble Rock

Floyd County - Roseville
Roseville

Franklin County
Franklin County

Franklin County

Franklin County

Hamilton County - Ellsworth
Ellsworth

I really love some of the auxiliary pictures from this collection. If my tentative plan to create a book from the auxiliary images comes to fruition (have to get the THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT book finished first) there is definitely some pictures from this trip that will make the book.

The next county we will visit for auxiliary images is Johnson County. It will be a smaller collection. This isn’t because Johnson County is full of Hawkeye fans. Truth is I love Iowa City and will one day make a trip to better photograph its campus town area. It is just because it was a weird, strange and abbreviated trip. I might explain later.

Mitchell and Floyd Aux – Vol. 1

Way back in April, I cruised around Mitchell and Floyd County harvesting their town signs. The weather and the lighting was great for photography and I took as much advantage of it as I could. There will be three collections of auxiliary images from this road trip.

Here is the first collection:


Mitchell County- Carpenter
Carpenter

Mitchell County - Otranto
Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Fort Severson
Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar
Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Fort Severson. This is a fascinating bit of history to me. For starters, it isn’t a fort. It is a barn. A cool barn. But not a fort.

Here is what the inscription says on the historical marker outside of the barn:

Built in 1867 by Nils Severson on his land with help of neighbor’s using limestone and mortar of lime & sand from Deer Creek. Severson’s design was a typical fort with small openings for rifles and larger openings for gatling guns. The Spirit Lake Massacre and uprising at New Ulm Minnesota prompted the building of forts across North Iowa. This is the only one left standing. Although Indians never came there were some scares. Settlers would come from as far as ten miles to stay here. The building was later used as a stage coach stop on a route between Northwood and St. Ansgar on the Kansas City, Rochester Minnesota stage line. As many as 20 people would sleep on the top floor, meals were served on the first floor. Immigrants would stay while looking for land to settle on. It became a farm building in the 1870’s after the railroad came through. Restored in 1972 by local people as a United States bicentennial project. Use of fort & site donated by David & Judy Goplerud. Placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in July 1976.

Seems straight forward. They were scared of the indigenous people in the area. They built a fort. Where they had gatling guns. This is the inscription that is on the historical marker. However, the Mitchell County Historical County calls BS on this marker. According to their website:

Actually, it’s just a barn but where’s the fun in that? It’s long been called Fort Severson by Mitchell and Worth County residents. Actually, the term “Fort” was a common designation on the American frontier for larger secure structures built by early pioneers. These included some churches, a remote farm house or other safe place to stay when needed. People often found themselves away from more populated areas on the prairie and needed good shelter. Sadly, it never actually acted as a “fort” for protection.

But that takes away nothing from the structure itself. Solidly and skillfully constructed of local limestone and timber from surrounding woodlands, it has survived since the mid 1850s.

The website goes on:

Rumors of the structure being used for Indian protection and being a stagecoach stop have made for good stories over the years. Many will say the small openings were for defense of the “Fort” during anticipated attacks but that was not the case- No rifles or Gatling guns (as one account speculates) ever extended through those openings. The Spirit Lake Massacre in 1857 and the New Ulm Massacre in 1862 were over long before the “Fort” was built and the Indians that passed through the area, scouting along Deer Creek, were not a threat but were known to approach the settlers’ homes seeking food. These framed openings were in fact for ventilation of the barn. Not near as exciting as the rumors. The stage line to Northwood did pass by the Seversons. Tradition said that the “Fort” was used as a stop with the wagon teams staying below and the passengers stayed above on the loft space. Again, another good story. There was no chimney or heating source in the “Fort” and this was not a regular stage stop but weary travelers were likely accommodated in a nearby frame structure, now long gone, that was the actual inn and only the teams would have been sheltered in the Nels Severson Barn.

I assume the historical society is correct, but makes me wonder why the historical marker is so completely inaccurate.

More from this trip still to come.

FAT MUM SLIM – AUGUST 2022

Another month done in the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. Think there is some good work in there this week. Having so much going on in August certainly helped. We’ll see how September goes.

Here are the August images:


August 1
August 1 – I AM…

August 2
August 2 – I LOVE THIS COLOUR

August 3
August 3 – I WALKED HERE…

August 4
August 4 – I LIKE TO…

August 5
August 5 – I LIKE THIS TIME OF DAY…

August 6
August 6 – I LOVE…

August 7
August 7 – I MADE THIS…

August 8
August 8 – I WORK HERE…

August 9
August 9 – I HELD THIS…

August 10
August 10 – I WROTE THIS…

August 11
August 11 – I SAW…

August 12
August 12 – I LIKE TO DRINK…

August 13
August 13 – I STOOD HERE…

August 14
August 14 – I DO THIS ON SUNDAYS…

August 15
August 15 – I ONCE…

August 16
August 16 – I NEVER…

August 17
August 17 – I WENT TO…

August 18
August 18 – I READ THIS…

August 19
August 19 – I DID THIS GOOD THING…

August 20
August 20 – I LOVE THIS VIEW…

August 21
August 21 – I DON’T LIKE TO…

August 22
August 22 – ON MONDAYS I…

August 23
August 23 – I SAT HERE…

August 24
August 24 – I LIKE TO EAT…

August 25
August 25 – I HAVE TO…

August 26
August 26 – I WORE THIS…

August 27
August 27 – ON WEEKENDS I…

August 28
August 28 – I WATCHED THIS…

August 29
August 29 – I CAN…

August 30
August 30 – I CAN’T…

August 31
August 31 – I BELIEVE…

Remember you can follow these as they drop on the daily on my dedicated FatMumSlim Instagram account @FMSBENNETT.

Here are the prompts for September:

September 1: Something I Saw
September 2: Plastic
September 3: Paper
September 4: Somewhere I Went
September 5: Hobby
September 6: Green + Blue
September 7: Before Bed
September 8: An Emotion
September 9: Opposites
September 10: I Can Hear…
September 11: Paint
September 12: Symmetry
September 13: Tasty
September 14: Odd One Out
September 15: A Food Shop
September 16: 12:34
September 17: Lucky
September 18: Car Park
September 19: What’s on TV
September 20: Texture
September 21: Nature
September 22: Tree Trunk
September 23: Crunchy
September 24: I Can Smell…
September 25: Laneway
September 26: The Moon
September 27: Open Door
September 28: My Culture
September 29: Not My Style
September 30: Sentimental

Should be a good month. I think there are some good prompts in there. The woman who runs this challenge is Australian. There must be some Australian things in here cause I have no clue what a “Car Park” or a “Laneway” is, but I’ll find out.

Town Sign Project: Washington County

A few weeks back I cruised around Washington County harvesting their town signs. It was a great trip as Washington County has a couple of my favorite spots in Iowa to visit.

Here are some facts about Washington County:
+ Population is 22,491 making it the 27th most populous county in Iowa. Below Bremer and above Mahaska.
+ The largest town and county seat is Washington.
+ Formed in 1838 as Slaughter County. Later organized as Washington County when it was moved from the Wisconsin Territory to the Iowa Territory. Named after George Washington. A character from Hamilton. You know, the guy who said, “My name’s been through a lot, I can take it.” and “You have no control. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”
+ Home of the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.
+ Home of the Kalona Creamery and Golden Delight Bakery, two of my favorite places in Iowa and places where I have fond family memories.
+ Major highways are: US-218, IA-1, IA-22, IA-27, IA-78, and IA-92.
+ Adjacent counties are: Iowa, Johnson, Louisa, Henry, Jefferson, and Keokuk.
+ Currently at peak population.

Washington County has a beautiful courthouse that I could have done a better job of photographing:


Washington County - Courthouse
The Washington County Courthouse located in Washington, Iowa.

The Washington County Freedom Rock is located in Brighton, Iowa.


Washington County Freedom Rock

Washington County Freedom Rock

Washington County Freedom Rock

Washington County Freedom Rock

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


Town Sign Project - 87 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

87 counties completed. 87.9% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Washington County:


Washington, Iowa
Washington, Iowa
WASHINGTON
Population: 7,352 (+86)

Kalona, Iowa
Kalona, Iowa
Welcome to KALONA
SINCE 1879
Population: 2,630 (+267)

Wellman, Iowa
Wellman, Iowa
WELCOME TO WELLMAN
Population: 1,524 (+116)

Riverside, Iowa
Riverside, Iowa
WELCOME TO RIVERSIDE
Where The Trek Begins
Population: 1,060 (+67)

Brighton, Iowa
Brighton, Iowa
Home of Lake Darling
Brighton
Population: 600 (-52)

Ainsworth, Iowa
Ainsworth, Iowa
City of Ainsworth
Population: 511 (-56)

Crawfordsville, Iowa
Crawfordsville, Iowa
CRAWFORDSVILLE
BIRTHPLACE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
FEBRUARY 23RD, 1854
Population: 277 (+13)

West Chester, Iowa
West Chester, Iowa
Welcome to WEST CHESTER
Population: 144 (+2)

Coppock, Iowa
Coppock, Iowa – Also in Henry and Jefferson Counties
Population: 36 (-11)

Last place is kind of a no brainer. Even in a county filled with nondescript and boring signs, Coppock is dead last for only having the DOT sign. The weird thing about Coppock is there is actually a decent sized business in the Eagles Nest. You would think they would have a sign.

As for Crawfordsville being the Birthplace of the Republican Party. #1. The original founders of the Republican Party must be completely ashamed to see what their party has become. #2. The Republican Party doesn’t recognize Crawfordsville as the birthplace of the Republican Party. There are two towns that fight over this distinction. Jackson, Michigan and Ripon, Wisconsin. Neither one, you might notice, is Crawfordsville, Iowa.

So what gives?

The Republican Party used to claim that the first informal meeting took place in Ripon on March 20, 1854. Then the first formal meeting took place in Jackson on July 6, 1854. The first organizing convention took place in Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856. The the first nominating convention took place in Philadelphia opening on June 17, 1856.

The Republican Party doesn’t site either place as their birthplace.

So where does Crawfordsville, Iowa come into this mix?

In February 23, 1854 delegates met in the Seceder Church and House of All Nations and drew up resolutions which began the Republican Party. There are no written proof of the actual meeting and you never see Crawfordsville mentioned as a possible birthplace of the Republican Party. Maybe it is for the best.

But after all of that, you are probably wondering what is the best town sign in Washington County. I do like the Riverside sign. I also like the Ainsworth sign. But clearly, Best in Show goes to Kalona.


Kalona, Iowa
Kalona – Best in Show – Washington County

There a few alternate town signs in Washington County:


Riverside, Iowa
Riverside – Alternate

Riverside, Iowa
Riverside – Alternate

Kalona, Iowa
Kalona – Alternate

Brighton, Iowa
Brighton – Alternate

Brighton, Iowa
Brighton – 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

Kalona, Iowa
Best in Show – Washington 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

The next time we hit the open road for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT we will visit Clayton County.

Dickinson and Emmet Aux – Vol. 1

A few months back I made a trip up to and through Dickinson and Emmet County to harvest their town signs. I had already harvested a good chunk of Dickinson County earlier. I really need to do a better photo experience in the Okoboji area cause on this trip I didn’t explore much. I got to see a little bit more of the area when I went camping with Carla and Jason several weeks later. I’ll share those pictures at a later date.

Here is the first collection of auxiliary images from that trip. Some of these are taken in Clay County:


Clay County - Peterson
Peterson

Clay County - Peterson

Clay County - Peterson

Clay County - Peterson

Clay County - Peterson

Dickinson County - Terril
Terril – Happy Timers? How do you not have a smiley face on your yellow building?!?!?

Dickinson County - Terril

Dickinson County - West Okoboji
West Okoboji

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park
Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Arnolds Park

Dickinson County - Okoboji
Okoboji

Dickinson County - Okoboji

Dickinson County - Spirit Lake
Spirit Lake

Dickinson County - Orleans
Orleans

Dickinson County - Orleans

Dickinson County - Superior
Superior

Dickinson County - Superior

Dickinson County - Superior

Dickinson County - Superior

Dickinson County - Superior

Dickinson County - Superior

Are you wondering about the “Ghost Train”? It is located between Spirit Lake and Superior and was once part of the Spirit of the Lakes dinner train. Those cars are trapped there as the tracks have been removed on both sides, so even if somebody wanted to move them, they are stuck.

This is from a WHO story in 2014:

The Iowa Northwestern Dinner Train started in 2003 on a track which had been abandoned by Union Pacific. The line served meals and gave rides out of the Spirit Lake area. It didn’t last long, operations stopped about nine years ago. Since that time, its passenger cars and kitchen dinning car have been parked on a rail siding near Superior, Iowa.

Vandals have broken windows and dismantled seats. Many things used in the operation of the Dinner Train were left behind, including an electric food warmer, coffee dispensers, plates and Christmas decorations.

Most of the article is about how awesome the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad Dinner Train is. I actually have never rode that train. I need to get on that.

There is one more collection of images from this trip to share.

Plymouth and Sioux County Aux – Vol. 2

Here is another collection of auxiliary pictures from my road trip to Plymouth and Sioux County to harvest their town signs.

Most of these pictures are of the extremely bizarre sculptures in Hospers, Iowa. Here is some information on the sculptures:

Frederickus Reinders (1874-1959) who worked as a house painter, furniture salesman, and undertaker, created a colorful monument to those in his hometown who served in World War I. Standing 20 feet tall, dedicated on September 5, 1921, it features a doughboy, an eagle, American flags, and the goddess Columbia in a blue gown (The models for the doughboy and the goddess were local young people).

Reinders’ other monuments in town — built, like his WWI monument, out of steel, chicken wire, and painted cement — were completed in 1945, and include a tribute to the battle for Iwo Jima, a Goddess of Victory, a Statue of Liberty, and a four-headed allegorical war dragon.

All of Reinders’ sculptures have been restored and repainted by Josh Wynia and art professor Jake Van Wyk of nearby Dordt College.

Reinders’ WWI sculpture was designed with a plaque to be inscribed with the names of Hospers doughboys who never made it home alive. However, it turned out that only two died, and not from battlefield wounds, but from the flu. So the plaque was left blank.

I find it interesting that dying from the flu isn’t plaque worthy. Tough break your dead, but not worth memorializing. Tough break doughboys.

Here some pictures:


Sioux County -Orange City

Sioux County -Orange City

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Hospers

Sioux County - Maurice

Sioux County - Maurice

Sioux County - Maurice

By the way, I almost got ran over by a car as I was walking toward the sculpture that is in the middle of an intersection. It was 100% my fault as I was reading a text message and just wandered out in to the street. Don’t feel bad if it was your text message I was reading. Clearly my fault, but it is okay if you feel a little bad. The lady that almost drilled me did pull over and we had a nice conversation. She tipped me off to the rest of the sculptures in a nearby park.

There are plenty more pictures from this road trip left to share.

Clay and Lyon County Aux. – Vol 2

Here is the last of the auxiliary images from a road trip I made with Teresa to harvest the town signs of Clay and Lyon County.


Dickinson County - Lake Park
Lake Park

Lyon County - Rock Rapids
Rock Rapids

Lyon County - Rock Rapids

Lyon County - Rock Rapids

Lyon County - Rock Rapids

Lyon County - Rock Rapids

Lyon County - Rock Rapids

Lyon County - Larchwood
Larchwood

Lyon County - Larchwood

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker
Tri-State Marker – Where Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota meet.

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker

Lyon County - Tri-State Marker

Lyon County - Inwood
Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Lyon County - Inwood

Sioux County - Hull
Hull

Sioux County - Hull

A word about the tri-state marker. There is only one place in the United States where 4 states come together at a common point. Those states are Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Also known as future Big 12 Country. Probably.

There are 62 tri-points in the United States. 38 of those tri-points are on land. The rest are in water. Where Iowa-South Dakota-Minnesota all meet is the only one in Iowa that is on land. Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota, Iowa-Missouri-Nebraska, Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin, Iowa-Illinois-Wisconsin, and Iowa-Illinois-Missouri are all in water.

The tri-state marker used be in the middle of the road, but apparently a big concrete obelisk in the middle of the road kept getting hit. Who could have seen that? The marker now is technically in South Dakota. There is a pin in the middle of the road that marks the actual spot, but I didn’t get a great picture of it.

The next time we hit the open road to look at auxiliary images from THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Sioux and Plymouth County.

+++++++

This is more of an archive than I expect anybody to read it. It really isn’t even mine. I’m just putting it here so I know I have a copy of it when I decide I want to read it again and again.

Then why is it here? Here is my way of explaining…

Here are a couple Christopher D. Bennett Fun Facts. When it isn’t college football season, Saturdays are for NPR. If you are in the car with me on a Saturday, you can lock in that at 9 AM, the radio dial we be on 90.1 and I will be listening to “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”. Followed by “It’s Been a Minute”, “This American Life”, and “Snap Judgement”.

The other Christopher D. Bennett Fun Fact is that I have probably 3 or 4 or 5 movies that rotate as my favorite movie. PSYCHO (1960), MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (although the shine is off this one a little bit due to the way the filibuster is actually used today), KING KONG (1933), INHERIT THE WIND, and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Of these A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is the movie I use to judge people. If they don’t love A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, are they really worth knowing? I think we all know the answer to that.

In fact, the one time that somebody agreed to watch it, without me in attendance they called me about 5 minutes into it wanting to quit. But they were troopers and finished it. They even claimed to have like it. I assume they were telling the truth, cause how could you not like it?

Last Saturday, my love for “This American Life” and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE collided as they did a story on the infamous missing chapter. If you don’t know, the last chapter of the book was omitted when published in the United States. The rest of the story, I’ll let this transcript from “This American Life” tell the story.

Ira Glass
Act 3, “Never Hear the End of It.” So we close out today’s show with this story that is very on point with everything we’ve been talking about till now from Sean Cole.

Sean Cole
This is one of my favorite stories to tell. I tell it at parties or to anyone who will listen. And since we’re here talking about the nature of people and whether they’re mostly good or mostly bad, I figured I’d tell it to you. Have you ever seen A Clockwork Orange, the Stanley Kubrick movie– guys running around in bowler hats and jockstraps on the outside of their pants, committing acts of, quote unquote, “ultraviolence?” It’s one of the most iconic films of the 20th century, set in a dystopian near-future where teenage hoodlums speak this stylized, Russified slang. It’s also intensely violent and deeply misogynist in ways I don’t think I understood when I first saw it and obsessed over it. I was in my teens then, the same age that the main character Alex is supposed to be.

Alex
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim. And we sat in the Korova Milk Bar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening.

Sean Cole
The thing is, the meaning of the story, what it says about the inherent goodness or badness of people, has been largely and grossly misunderstood, or at least the meaning that was originally intended by its creator, Anthony Burgess, the guy who wrote the novel the movie’s based on. He talked about this a lot in his lifetime.

Anthony Burgess
Although Kubrick made an interesting film out of it, the film wasn’t quite accurate. He didn’t follow the book as he should have done. He cut out the final chapter, for one thing.

Sean Cole
The final chapter, chapter 21. The film is actually really faithful to the book until that last part. But that last chapter radicalizes everything. If you know the movie, you know the movie. But if you don’t, you at least need to know the plot of it for any of this to make sense. I’ll try to summarize it as quick as I can.

So Alex and his three droogs, meaning friends, they spend their nights getting hopped up on drug-infused milk and hurting people. They beat up a panhandler, steal a car, and run other cars off the road. There’s a pretty famous rape scene, which incidentally was inspired by Burgess’s first wife getting assaulted, though not sexually, by a group of American soldiers. About a third of the way through, Alex accidentally murders someone during a break-in and goes to prison. And after serving a couple years, the government chooses him for a new experimental type of aversion therapy.

Man
He’ll do.

Sean Cole
They give him this drug which makes him basically allergic to violence. Any time he so much as pictures hitting someone, he’s overwhelmed by nausea and dread, also whenever he hears the music of Beethoven, but that’s another thing. Then the government does this presentation where they trot out the new forcibly reformed Alex, subject him to insults, injury, sexual temptation, and in response all he can do is gag and retch. Then a priest in the audience leaps up to object with the operative word–

Padre
Choice! The boy has no real choice, does he? He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.

Interior Minister
Padre, these are subtleties.

Sean Cole
Anyway, Alex gets out. A bunch of bad stuff happens. He tries to kill himself. The government sees the whole thing as a PR nightmare and gives him an antidote to the treatment, transforming him back to his evil, remorseless, smashing-things self. Also he can listen to Beethoven again.

Alex
I was cured, all right.

Sean Cole
The end. It’s bleak with a point that it’s better to let people choose to be bad than to brainwash them into harmless robots, clockwork oranges, with no will of their own. But in the book, the final chapter that wasn’t in the movie, it changes the meaning of everything that’s gone before it.

In the final chapter Alex is back at the Korova Milk Bar with three new droogs, whole new gang. But this time when they go out to stomp on random people, Alex hangs back. Something’s eating at him. It’s like he’s bored with all the violence now, doesn’t enjoy any of this like he used to.

He wanders into a coffee shop where he runs into a member of his old gang, Pete, and Pete’s wife. They look happy, living the quiet life. And Alex thinks, maybe that’s what’s missing. Maybe I should settle down, have a kid, hopefully a son. “I felt this bolshy big hollow inside my plott,” he says, meaning his body. “Feeling very surprised too at myself. I knew what was happening, O, my brothers. I was like growing up.”

When I read that, it was like the top of my head blew off. Alex isn’t inherently evil. He didn’t just go back to doing all the bad stuff he used to do. And he didn’t need an experimental drug to reform him. He just needed time to get there on his own. I was in my early 20s when I picked up the novel, so some years after I saw the movie. And the feeling was like I’d unfairly underestimated someone for a long time.

It’s also an ending that comports more with reality. There’s research that shows a big reason people disengage from gang life is just that they get older, age out of it. But more than that, the two endings represent two completely different ways of looking at the world. One is saying that people can change, even the worst people, whereas the other is saying that evil is evil, irredeemably.

And those two worldviews, they’re baked into this ridiculous backstory about that final chapter. According to Burgess, when the book was published here in the States, the publisher told him they wouldn’t put it out unless they could cut chapter 21. This was way before the movie was optioned. It was still just a novel. They said the optimistic ending was Pollyanna-ish, naive, and bland.

They were like, we Americans are tougher than you Brits. We can handle a nihilistic ending. Some people are just beyond hope. That’s more realistic. Burgess needed money back then, he said. If the only way to sell the story to Americans was to lop off its conclusion, then so be it.

So now there were two Clockwork Oranges in the world with two different endings depending on where you lived. Burgess writes about this whole mishigas and how he felt about it in an introduction to a later edition of the book. I just want to read– this is probably my favorite part of what he says.

“Now, when Stanley Kubrick made his film, though he made it in England, he followed the American version and, so it seemed to his audiences outside America, ended the story somewhat prematurely. Audiences did not exactly clamor for their money back, but they wondered why Kubrick left out the denouement. People wrote to me about this. Indeed, much of my later life has been expended on Xeroxing statements of intention and the frustration of intention while both Kubrick and the New York publisher coolly bask in the rewards of their misdemeanor. Life is, of course, terrible.”

It’s funny, but it was also endlessly frustrating to Burgess. He wrote that he didn’t think the American edition and thus the movie was a fair depiction of human life. It’s as inhuman to be 100% evil as it is to be 100% good. The two need to coexist. He was unequivocal about that.

Further, when the film came out, there was a moral panic about it, both in the UK and here in the States. And it wasn’t just the violence people were upset about. It was the ending. An editor for The New York Times wrote in the Arts and Leisure section of the paper, “The thesis that man is irretrievably bad and corrupt is the essence of fascism.” I can’t help but think how all of this might have been different if that last chapter had never been cut.

And that, for years, was everything I knew. But then recently, as I was getting ready to tell all of this to you, O, my brothers, I thought I should actually do some research, make sure I got my facts straight. And as with A Clockwork Orange itself, it turns out there’s a whole other chapter to this saga, one that I didn’t know existed. To start with, that quote from Burgess I read earlier that ends with “Life is, of course, terrible.”

Andrew Biswell
That’s a very entertaining account of the story. I think it’s inaccurate in various ways.

Sean Cole
This is Andrew Biswell. He’s spent more than 25 years researching Burgess in part for his aptly titled book The Real Life of Anthony Burgess. It wasn’t always the easiest job.

Andrew Biswell
He would embroider, and he would be more concerned with telling a good story than with sticking to factual accuracy. Now, I’d been going through the manuscript of A Clockwork Orange as part of my research into Burgess.

Sean Cole
The original manuscript, the one Burgess sent around to his editors in England and America.

Andrew Biswell
And just turning the pages and noting any annotations on the typescript. And I remember coming to this note in his own handwriting, which says at the end of chapter 20, “Should we end here?”

Sean Cole
“Should we end here? An optional “epilogue” follows.” “Epilogue” is in quotes. Again, this was at the end of the second-to-last chapter, where Alex turns bad again.

Sean Cole
And what did you think when you saw it?

Andrew Biswell
I nearly fell off my chair. I was very surprised, because I’d grown up with the Burgess introductions and commentaries on his book. And up until that point, I’d been inclined to believe them. And this question, “Should we end here?” I was surprised by the level of doubt.

Sean Cole
Surprised because Burgess publicly was so emphatic that he had been forced to cut the last chapter and that it was the wrong decision. And when Andrew looked into it further, he found that Burgess’s editor in America, Eric Swenson, never insisted on scrapping the last chapter. Yes, he thought it was Pollyanna-ish and, quote, “unconvincing,” but getting rid of it wasn’t a condition of publication.

Not only that, this guy Swenson said Burgess agreed with his opinion and that Burgess told him he’d only added the 21st chapter because the British publisher wanted a happy ending. Also Burgess wrote his own screenplay for A Clockwork Orange that ended at the same place Kubrick’s screenplay did, no redemption. And then years later, Burgess wrote a musical, yes, a musical version of the story, which reverted back to the longer redemptive ending and took it even further.

Andrew Biswell
Alex goes off with his girlfriend, and they’re going to get married.

Sean Cole
Oh!

Andrew Biswell
That’s right. Yeah.

Sean Cole
Is she a character, or is she offstage somewhere?

Andrew Biswell
No, no. She appears and speaks. She’s called Marty.

Sean Cole
[LAUGHS]

Andrew Biswell
And then the play has a prologue in the Garden of Eden, where Alex and Marty play Adam and Eve. It’s very confusing. The whole thing is messy. It’s strange that he tries to pin this on other people, whereas the reality is that it’s like the good angel and the evil angel are dictating sort of different endings to him.

Sean Cole
So in the end, which ending do you think that Burgess thought of as the better ending?

Andrew Biswell
By the time you get to the 1980s and he’s making his stage adaptation, he’s coming down in favor of chapter 21 as the correct or the authorized ending.

Sean Cole
And what does that say, do you think, about his worldview, like about what he believed about the true nature of human beings?

Andrew Biswell
Well, the big thing that had changed in his life was that he had a son by his second marriage and a very wayward son. He was, I suppose, worried that this person should do well in the world. Yeah. I suppose Burgess in the ’80s, he’s much more of a protective father figure.

Sean Cole
Which, if that’s the reason, makes so much sense. When you have a kid, especially one you’re worried won’t turn out well, you have to believe people can change like Alex finally changed, dreaming of his own son. It’s like they literally ended up on the same page, Burgess and Alex. One of them happened to have typed out that page while the other danced across it in a jockstrap and suspenders. They both grew up.

Funnily, Andrew Biswell says he prefers the shorter ending. Just thinks it makes for a tougher book, although he goes back and forth, he says. Depends on what day you ask him.

Me, I come down where Burgess ultimately did. I like believing that we can grow into better versions of ourselves. And besides all that, you get to see Alex walk off into the sunset. On the last page he says, “Farewell from your little droog.” Should we end here?

Ira Glass
Sean Cole is one of the producers of our show.

Are you wondering where I come down on it. First of all, you never question Stanley Kubrick. He was the greatest filmmaker of all-time, and when people say that the movie can never be better than the book… compare A CLOCKWORK ORANGE movie to the book. Compare THE SHINING movie to the book. Perhaps the greatest upgrade, compare 2001: A SPACE ODDYSSEY movie to the book. You could even claim that LOLITA the movie is better than LOLITA the book, but that one… I mean the fact that he was even able to make LOLITA into a movie at all, at that time was borderline miraculous.

The short answer is, I think the ending of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE the movie is perfect. The last chapter is maudlin and doesn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the book at all. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It wasn’t needed and I don’t think it helps. Type of thing Spielberg would have thrown onto the end of it. (For the record I think Spielberg is a great filmmaker, but much of his stuff gets hokey. Even some of his best movies get hokey in parts. See the bookend scenes of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.) It is a compromise where no compromise is needed.

If the question is, can we grow into better versions of ourselves? Of course I believe that and I see it all the time. I also see people growing into worse version of ourselves all the time as well. I don’t believe anybody is beyond redemption, but I don’t think that the path people walk is a straight line. They don’t constantly get worse or constantly get better. They go up and down. A couple steps forward. A step backwards. Sometimes several steps backwards.

I would also add that I’ve never considered the main theme of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE to be about whether humans can change or whether humans are evil or good? I’ve always considered the main theme to be if you remove choice from a situation does a human cease to be a human? Or if a person doesn’t have a choice and are forced to be “good”, are they “good” at all?

That is my Saturday night philosophy for you.