Category Archives: History

Pottawattamie and Harrison County Aux – Vol. 1

The day I harvested the town signs of Pottawattamie County and Harrison County I started from Nate and Laura’s place in Manhattan, Kansas.

Here is the first collection of auxiliary images from that trip:


Beattie, Kansas
Beattie, Kansas

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County - Crescent
Crescent

Pottawattamie County - Crescent

Pottawattamie County - Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs

Pottawattamie County -  McClelland
McClelland

Pottawattamie County -  McClelland

Pottawattamie County -  McClelland

Pottawattamie County -  McClelland

Pottawattamie County - Neola
Neola

Pottawattamie County - Neola

Pottawattamie County - Neola

Pottawattamie County - Neola

Harrison County - Persia
Persia

Harrison County - Persia

Harrison County

Harrison County - Missouri Valley
Missouri Valley

Harrison County

Harrison County

Harrison County

Harrison County

I have one more collection of images from this trip to share.

WPC – WEEK 350 – THEME REVEAL

As you should know, I’m still down in Miami, working for the man. I don’t have access to my computer or website, so I can’t post all the brilliant submissions for HAT that I received. I will post those when I return to the Cyclone State. Either late Tuesday night, but more likely at some point on Wednesday.

However, just because I’m being worked to the bone, in the worst state in these United States of America, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to get started on Week 350 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. All you need to know is the theme:


WEEK 350 - HISTORY
HISTORY

HISTORY! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is a HISTORY picture? A HISTORY picture is simply any picture that deals with a HISTORI(Y)cal artifact. Could be something found in a museum. It could be something found on the side of the road. It could be an old church or an old building. It could be living history. It doesn’t have to be anything as grand as the spot where a President of the United State spoke. It doesn’t have to be political HISTORY or military HISTORY or religious HISTORY. It could very easily be personal HISTORY.

When thinking on possible subjects for your submission, meditate on the following quote:

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
-Karl Marx

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

RULES

The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.

You can send your images to either bennett@photography139.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing your idea of HISTORY in this place that definitely records my daily minutiae next Monday.

Monroe and Mahaska County Auxiliary Images Vol. 3

I promised you more information about the Great Pyramids of Iowa. Here is information from a Des Moines Register article titled: “Pyramids? Haunted angels? These are 6 of Iowa’s oddest graveyards to visit before you die.:

Three small Egyptian-style pyramids at the back of Hickory Grove Cemetery near Avery are the lone remnant of one man’s unrealized dream to be entombed inside one.

According to local records, their construction was commissioned in 1939 by newspaper publisher Axel Peterson, when he was 70 years old. Peterson’s plan was that, when he died, he and his friend, Anton Heymooler, would be placed inside, seated and facing each other with his printing press between them.

The pyramids were built, but neither Peterson nor Heymooler were buried inside. Peterson died at age 78 and was instead buried in nearby Cuba Cemetery. But the pyramids remain at Hickory Grove to this day.

Here are the rest of the pictures from this trip:



Lovilia


Cedar


Rose Hill


Keomah Village


Albia


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

Monroe and Mahaska County Auxiliary Images Vol. 2

Time for another collection of auxiliary images from a road trip I took with Teresa to harvest the town signs of Monroe and Mahaska County. Almost all these pictures are taken in Albia or near Albia. The near Albia pictures are taken at what I think is the coolest veteran memorial I have ever seen in Iowa.


Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Avery
Great Pyramids of Iowa

Monroe County - Avery

I will get more into the history of the Great Pyramids of Iowa when I share the rest of these images tomorrow night.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SLICE OF LIFE:


WEEK 348 - SLICE OF LIFE
SLICE OF LIFE

SLICE OF LIFE! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is a SLICE OF LIFE photo? It might not be what you think. Hence this week’s special rule. SLICE OF LIFE is a reference to the photo postcard company that my Dad created. That is why (and here is the special rule) this week, the theme is NOT up for interpretation. This week’s theme is to take a picture that you could see used as a postcard. That is the only interpretation available to you.

Some of you might not live in a tourist hotbed like Boone, Iowa (no seriously, Boone has lots of tourist attractions from Pufferbilly Days to the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace to Ledge State Park to the Boone Speedway to name a few) but there is certainly something in your town that you could see put on a postcard. For those of you that are under the age of 40 you may have to ask an elder what a postcard is, but I’m sure they will be happy to tell you all about it. And also other amazing things that happened in the 80s or 70s or before.

To give you another few examples of postcards. Here are a few postcards that my Dad made that I hastily scanned this morning:

Slice of Life Postcard

Slice of Life Postcard

Slice of Life Postcard

Slice of Life Postcard

When you look at these postcards, remember that these were made in a darkroom. With film! Quite a bit harder than dragging and dumping layers in Photoshop.

So remember, it has to be the kind of image you would see on a postcard. Not a picture of your pet or your kid and then saying, this is a “slice of my life”. That doesn’t qualify this week.

Do I expect this to possibly be a streak killer for many people? Maybe.

BONUS: If you want to go the extra mile, this isn’t a requirement, you can take your image in black & white as my Dad’s postcards were black & white.

DOUBLE BONUS: For this theme and this theme only, if you include some kind of description of your postcard scene, I will include it in the “An Artist’s Notebook” post on Monday.

Happy photo harvesting!

Monroe and Mahaska County Auxiliary Images Vol. 1

A long, long time ago when I revealed the towns signs of Monroe County I pointed out that the town of Melrose, Iowa had a memorial up in their town park to honor the 1936-37 Melrose Shamrocks boys basketball team. A team that the Des Moines Register honored as the best team in the first 100 years of Iowa boys basketball in 2012.

Kio took great offense to this and sent me the following email:

Some of what Melrose claims about their championship basketball team might be a bit of blarney. I have to stick up for the Boone High Boys State Basketball 1931 State Champions. Although I’m not completely impartial, my Dad was the captain of that team, it had a legitimate star at all positions. Also worth noting, there were no classes or divisions in high school basketball in those days. All the teams in the state were lumped together. So if you won the state championship, you were truly the best team in the state. I always add this footnote when talking on this topic. Although Boone hasn’t won a state basketball tournament championship since 1931, no one would have been prouder to see his team’s record beaten than my Dad.

While Kio is clearly prejudiced, I think it is fair to reveal why the Melrose Shamrocks are considered the best boys basketball team in the first 100 years of Iowa boys basketball.

Here are some facts about them:
+ Melrose was the smallest school to ever win a single-class state basketball title in Iowa. Enrollment was 66. They beat Marshalltown in the championship game. A school with an enrollment of 1,077.
+ Melrose was the first team to go undefeated in state history. Going 33-0. They defeated undefeated Rolfe (29-0) in the semifinal game. They beat them 29-13.
+ Their 35-17 win over Marshalltown was the largest margin of victory in the championship game up until that point.
+ Played their home games in an opera house because they didn’t have a gym. The court measured 30 feet by 40 to 45 feet. Why 40 to 45 feet? One of corners of the playing floor featured a wood stove that heated the building and was blocked off so players didn’t run into it. A standard basketball court is 50 feet by 94 feet.
+ “Many of the players on the Melrose basketball team wanted to fit in with the “big city” crowd of Des Moines. In the fashion of the day, they slicked back their hair with Rose Hair Oil. Rose Hair Oil was inexpensive (“about 15 cents per gallon,” according to Walt O’Connor), so they apparently used lots of it. The oil also had a nice smell to it.

While this was fine before the tournament started, it gave the team trouble in their first game against Geneseo. During the game, the hair oil went from their hair to their hands to the ball. As Walt O’Connor recalled, “We started perspiring and wiping our heads to get the hair out of our eyes, and the first thing you knew, the referee couldn’t hold the ball.” After having trouble handling the ball in the first half, the players washed out their hair at half time. Better ball handling in the second half helped them to win the game, 35 – 34. After almost letting the first game of the tournament slip their grasp, Melrose stopped using the hair oil in the later games.”

Some of this information is taken from the Melrose website article on the team:

1937 Melrose Shamrocks

All of that being said, the Ames High team featuring Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott would have beaten this team by at least 20 points. They did win 53 games in a row.

Here is the first collection of the auxiliary images from a road trip I took to Monroe and Mahaska County with Teresa.


Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Melrose

Monroe County - Georgetown
Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown

Monroe County - Georgetown
Albia

Monroe County - Albia

Monroe County - Albia

There are still two more collections of images to share from this road trip.

Cedar County Auxiliary Images Vol. 2

Here is the second collection of auxiliary images I took while harvesting the town signs of Cedar County. A few of these are taken in Muscatine County. A few are taken in Benton County. The majority of them are taken in West Branch at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

Herbert Hoover was the first president born west of the Mississippi River. He is also the only president born in Iowa. I always thought it was embarrassing that the worst president in history was born in Iowa. But then I looked it up. Herbert Hoover was not the worst president. Just one of the worst. John Tyler. Worse. Millard Fillmore. Worse. William Henry Harrison. Worse. Franklin Pierce. Worse. Warren G. Harding. Worse. Donald Trump. Worse. James Buchanan. Worse. And according to presidential scholars, historians, and political scientists. Andrew Johnson. The worst.

If you are wondering, the three presidents that are currently considered the best are:

3. Abraham Lincoln
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
1. George Washington

And while one of the worst presidents was the only president born in Iowa, think of sad states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Florida, West Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama… to name a few… that haven’t even had a sad sack like Benjamin Harrison (the president ranked just ahead of Herbert Hoover) born there. He was born in Ohio. Just like William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William H. Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

Enough presidential birthplace history. Here are the rest of the pictures from my Cedar County road trip:


Muscatine County - Wilton
Wilton

Muscatine County - Wilton

Cedar County - West Branch
West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Youngville Cafe
Benton County – Junction of Lincoln Highway and Red Ball Highway

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Here is some information about the Youngville Cafe from the Wikipedia:

Youngville Cafe, also known as Youngville Station, is a historic building located northwest of Watkins, Iowa, United States. It was a one-stop roadside business that included a café, a Skelly gas station, and three cabins for travelers to stay in. The cabins have subsequently been removed. The building calls attention to increasing business opportunities for women. The Tudor Revival building was built in 1931 by Joe Young on his pasture land for his widowed daughter Lizzie Wheeler to support her and her children. The main building also contained residential space where the family lived. It is located on U.S. Route 30, which at this point had been the Lincoln Highway. The café/station also served as a bus depot for the Greyhound and Jefferson bus lines.

When Wheeler retired to Cedar Rapids, she rented out the business to others to run. She returned to the café/station in 1967 after the lease ended, but it closed that year because it didn’t have enough parking and vehicles could no longer park along the highway. The building was used as a residence into the 1980s, when it was abandoned. The Benton County Sesquicentennial Commission acquired it as a restoration project to celebrate Iowa’s 150th anniversary of statehood in 1996. It is now owned by the Youngville Highway History Association and open as a café on a limited basis. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The cafe has been closed since 2020 because of the pandemic and because of damage it sustained from the derecho. However, according to a Facebook post on the Youngville Highway History Association Facebook page, it will be opening up and serving lunch Tuesdays from 11 AM to 2 PM starting on June 7th. You can bet dollars to donuts or burgers or tenderloins or whatever they serve, that I will be taking a day off from computer mining to go experience it.

If the menu that is lying on the ground is still accurate, I’ll definitely be knocking down a raspberry pie and probably a rhubarb pie as well.

Decatur and Wayne County Auxiliary Images Vol. 2

Several months back I cruised around Decatur County and Wayne County with Vest harvesting their town signs. This is the second collection of auxiliary images I took on this trip.

There are a couple of images I want to single out. These pictures of murals I took in Allerton, Iowa:


Wayne County - Allerton

Wayne County - Allerton

While I was doing a little research on the Coca-Cola mural trying to discover who the Iowa Letterheads are, I discovered a very interesting group. These murals were painted in 1993 by a group call The Walldogs. The Walldogs is a group of mural painters that once a year go to a town and paint a bunch of murals there. Allerton, Iowa was the first town they ever did this at. According to their website, (thewalldogs.com) they are going to be in Paducah, Kentucky this year. Which is really close to where Ernie lives. They are also going to return to Allerton, Iowa in 2023. If this schedule holds, I will definitely look into checking this out.

This is the type of thing I wish our Art Council in Boone would have looked into, before they got broken up when one member assaulted another member.

Here are the rest of the pictures from Volume 2 of this road trip:


Decatur County - Leon
Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon
Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County

Wayne County - Lineville
Lineville

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Clio
Clio

Wayne County - Clio

Wayne County - Clio

Wayne County - Allerton
Allerton

Wayne County - Corydon
Corydon

A little bit of history on George Saling from the Prairie Tails Museum:

George Saling Brings Home the Gold!!!
In August 1932 headlines in newspapers around the country repeated this message as George Saling, Corydon won both a gold and bronze medal as part of the United State Olympic Team.

George Saling a senior at the University of Iowa was considered among the hurdling greats of the world in 1932. He set records in many meets that year, including Drake Relays with a record setting time in the high hurdles of 14:4 seconds. In the National Collegiate championships he set a new record at 14:1, this was also a world record.

In the first heat of the Olympic hurdles Saling came in second to Don Finlay of Great Britain. He opened up in the second heat and broke an Olympic record at 14:4.

In the final heat an Olympic championship at stake, the competitors took off at the shot in a life and death race. And Saling won, this time in 14:6 in the 110 meter high hurdles winning the gold medal. In fact the USA team took home both gold and silver.

Saling wrote this of his experience: “Down on the track, six forms are crouching – by trials the six greatest hurdlers in the world. The gun barks and the forms shoot forward. They take the first barrier almost in unison. Then one runner draws into the lead. Closely pressed by the pack, he is still leading at the seventh hurdle. “At the eighth barrier a runner emerges from the pack. He overtakes the leader, and then sweeps on by and to the tape – a victor by four feet. That runner was myself, and I say without shame that this is the ONE race of the Olympics that shall remain longest in my memory.”

George Saling was born in 1909 in Memphis, MO. The family moved to Corydon when he was three months old, where he graduated from high school in 1927. George’s first love was basketball and he was captain of the Corydon team in 1926-27.

He went out for track, partly because that was what most of the other fellow did in the spring. In meets he usually filled in wherever he was needed most, running anything from the 100 to the 440, besides hurdles.

In the fall of 1927 he began classes at the University of Iowa and turned his ambitions toward basketball. But in an interview given just two weeks before his untimely death in 1933, George said, “Just as I was swinging off the court after practice one night, and still possessing a little of that youthful exuberance, I raced over a couple of hurdles that were standing nearby, as George Bresnahan, U of I track coach happened to be passing.”

Coach Bresnahan spotted Saling’s natural gift for the hurdles and immediately began an intense campaign to recruit George away from basketball and on to the track team. Saling credited his coach for much of his success. His training methods included a lot of body building – lifting weights, working on bars, and sprinting. One unusual exercise that proved to be very helpful was walking on his hands, which developed arms, back, and chest, and gave him a finer sense of balance – a necessity for hurdlers.

Corydon and the track world were stunned by the untimely death of George Saling on April 14, 1933 as a result of a car accident near St Louis. He was just 23 years old. The funeral service at the Methodist Church in Corydon was one of the largest ever held in Corydon.

George Saling’s memory was honored by his hometown high school in 1938 when its newly lighted athletic field was dedicated as “Saling Field”. In 1983, during Corydon’s Old Settlers Celebration, Saling was honored in a special ceremony and a bronze plaque honoring his Olympic Gold Medal was mounted on the east side of the bandstand on the Wayne County courthouse grounds. In 1989, the University of Iowa established an Athletic Hall of Fame: George Saling was one of the athletes and coaches named.

There is still one more collection of pictures from this road trip left to share.

Decatur and Wayne County Auxiliary Images Vol. 1

Several months back I cruised around Decatur County and Wayne County with Vest harvesting their town signs. This is the first collection of auxiliary images I took on this trip:


Decatur County - Weldon
Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Weldon

Decatur County - Le Roy
Le Roy

Wayne County - Humeston
Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston

Wayne County - Humeston
Garden Grove

Decatur County - Garden Grove

Decatur County - Garden Grove

Decatur County - Garden Grove

Decatur County - Garden Grove

Decatur County - Garden Grove

Decatur County - Garden Grove

Decatur County - Leon
Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

You may recall a few weeks ago I talked about a sweet free gift I picked up in a strange park in Bremer County. It was on this trip, that I decided to pay that gift forward.


Decatur County - Garden Grove
Free gift’s new home.

I left it on a picnic table in a nice park in Garden Grove. What happened to it from there? I will never know.

Kossuth and Winnebago County Auxiliary Images Vol. 2

Today is a big day for Iowa State athletics. Iowa State is one of only two schools that have both their Men’s and Women’s basketball team still alive in the NCAA tournament. For the Men, this is pretty shocking since they only won two games last year. This was the expectation for the Women.

However, for the third time in as many games, in their infinite wisdom, the NCAA has scheduled the Men’s and Women’s games to overlap. (Yes, I actually know that the television networks schedule the game times, but still!) This has lead several people to ask me how I’m going to watch both games. The astute people know that I refuse to DVR games, so that isn’t a possibility.

The answer is simple. I’m going to watch Season 2 of BRIDGERTON on Netflix and then read about the games in the morning paper on Saturday.

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Several months back I cruised around Kossuth ad Winnebago County harvesting their town signs. This is the second collection of auxiliary images from that road trip. All these images were taken in Kossuth County.


Kossuth County - Algona
Algona

Kossuth County - Algona

Kossuth County - Algona

Kossuth County - Algona

Kossuth County - Algona

Kossuth County - Algona

Kossuth County - Wesley
Wesley

Kossuth County - Titonka
Titonka

Kossuth County - Titonka

Kossuth County - Titonka

Kossuth County - Titonka

Kossuth County - Titonka

Kossuth County

Kossuth County

Kossuth County

Kossuth County - Lone Rock
Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

Kossuth County - Lone Rock

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

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


WEEK 341 - SHADOW
SHADOW

SHADOW! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what exactly is a SHADOW picture? A SHADOW picture is simply a picture where one of the major compositional elements of the image is a SHADOW. The SHADOW can be on the ground. It can be on a wall. It can be across somebody’s face. A silhouette picture is a SHADOW picture, for example. And of course, there are other types of less literal SHADOWs out there too.

Happy photo harvesting!

Shelby and Mills County Auxiliary Images – Vol. 1

A few weeks back I cruised around Shelby and Mills County (and Pottawattamie County) harvesting their town signs. Here is the first collection of auxiliary images from this trip. Including some pictures of what I think might be the prettiest church in Iowa. But no, I’m not going to make a Iowa Church Power Rankings at any point in the future.


Shelby County

Shelby County

Shelby County
I don’t know how this turned out but this person hates schools!

Shelby County - Kirkman
Kirkman

Shelby County - Kirkman

Shelby County - Kirkman

Shelby County - Kirkman

Shelby County - Kirkman

Shelby County - Kirkman

Shelby County

Shelby County - Westphalia
Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Westphalia

Shelby County - Panama
Panama

Shelby County - Panama

Shelby County - Panama

Shelby County - Panama

Shelby County - Panama

Shelby County - Portsmouth
Portsmouth

Shelby County - Portsmouth

Shelby County - Portsmouth

Shelby County - Harlan
Harlan

Shelby County - Harlan

Shelby County - Harlan

Shelby County - Harlan

Do you think you know which church was my favorite?

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