A few weeks back I cruised around Fremont County on a solo town sign harvesting trip. Fremont County was the third county I harvested on that day. I have no connection to any of the towns in Fremont County. I’ve never left I-29 on any of my trips through Fremont County. However, I was strangely looking forward to Fremont County. Not only because Fremont County is in the southwest corner of Iowa, but also because my Paris grandparents lived on Fremont Street. Funny how the mind works and makes strange connections.
Here are some facts about Fremont County:
+ Population is 6,605. That makes it the 93rd most populous county in Iowa. Right below Ida County and right above Wayne County.
+ The largest town and county seat is Sidney.
+ Formed in 1847.
+ Named after John C. Fremont. An explorer, military officer, U.S. Senator from California and the first Republican nominee for President of the United States. Fremont, is one of the most interesting figures in American history that gets forgotten. But that is just my opinion. I’m not saying he was a great person or a bad person. Like most people of his time that didn’t flat out suck (see John C. Calhoun) he was a mixed bag. But he was an interesting mixed bag.
+ Home of the world’s largest continuous outdoor rodeo in Sidney. Started in 1928.
+ Major highways are I-20, US-59, US-275, IA-2, and IA-333.
+ Adjacent Iowa counties are: Mills and Page.
+ Population peaked in 1900 at 18,546.
Fremont County has an average to slightly better than average looking courthouse:
The Fremont County Courthouse located in Sidney, Iowa.
The Fremont County Freedom Rock is located in Hamburg, Iowa:
With Fremont County conquered, this is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:
40 counties completed. 40.4% of the Cyclone State conquered.
Here are the town signs of Fremont County:
Population: 1,070 (-68)
You’re Always Welcome In HAMBURG
Population: 890 (-297)
Tabor, Iowa – Also in Mills County
WELCOME TO TABOR
Lighting the Way Since 1852
Population: 1,014 (+58)
Welcome to FARRAGUT
“DAMN THE TORPEDOES! FULL STEAM AHEAD!
-ADMIRAL D. G. FARRAGUT
Population: 490 (+5)
Welcome to RIVERTON
Population: 245 (-59)
WELCOME TO THURMAN
Population: 167 (-67)
WELCOME TO RANDOLPH
Population: 189 (+21)
Population: 39 (-33)
Technically a small sliver of Shenandoah is in Fremont County, but not enough to share it yet. That will wait until I reveal the town signs of Page County.
Who has the worst town sign in Fremont County? I don’t know that I think there is a bad town sign in the county, so I’m going to give the distinction to Thurman, even though I actually love its rustic charm.
Then who gets Best in Show for Fremont County? I’m fascinated by how Imogene, a town of 39 people, has such an expensive looking sign. However, they do have a restaurant that is on The Tenderloin Trail 2.0, so it isn’t a town without means. At least the have the means of making a pretty good tenderloin. I haven’t tried it yet, so I will hold back my praises for the time being. I also like the Sidney sign and how it fits in with the rodeo “theme” of their town. Then there is Farragut’s sign. It isn’t the most impressive design, but I stay awake nights wondering why they put quotation marks at the beginning of the quote from Admiral Farragut, but not at the end of the quote. However, my favorite town sign belongs to Tabor. You might be wondering why there is an old-timey lantern on it. Was Tabor once the home of a burgeoning lantern industry. You may be disappointed to find out the answer is “no”. It actually represents Tabor’s place on the Underground Railroad. Here is a snippet on the history of the town of Tabor:
In 1852 the city of Tabor was founded by several Christian clergymen, who were also active abolitionists (George Gaston, Samuel A. Adams, and Rev. John Todd), and their families. They chose to settle in what is now Tabor in order to found a Christian college, which eventually became Tabor College. The founders “were impressed with this high location and mutually selected the name ‘Tabor’ after the Biblical name of Mount Tabor, a mountain near Nazareth, the town of Jesus’ childhood”.
The residents of Tabor held monthly abolitionist prayer meetings, and helped runaway slaves whenever they could.
In the 1850s the abolitionist John Brown kept a store of weapons in Tabor, and met here with other supporters to plan his raids in Kansas and Virginia, including the raid on Harpers Ferry. The town was the home of many abolitionists, including John Tod, a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad and co-founder of Tabor College. Tabor College was located in the city from 1853 until 1927, when it closed for financial reasons. The college’s buildings housed German Prisoners of War during World War II.
Unfortunately, to my knowledge, those German prisoners of war didn’t carve a nativity set that can only be described as exactly what a nativity set carved by Germans would look like.
One last tidbit about Tabor. The novel “Gilead” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 was based on Tabor, Iowa.
Anyways, they have a cool sign:
Tabor – Best in Show – Fremont County
A few town have alternate town signs:
Here is the current list of Best in Shows:
Best in Show – Adair County
Best in Show – Adams County
Best in Show – Audubon County
Best in Show – Benton County
Best in Show – Boone County
Best in Show – Butler County
Best in Show – Calhoun County
Best in Show – Carroll County
Best in Show – Cass County
Best in Show – Cerro Gordo County
Best in Show – Clarke County
Best in Show – Crawford County
Best in Show – Dallas County
Best in Show – Franklin County
Best in Show – Fremont County
Best in Show – Greene County
Best in Show – Grundy County
Best in Show – Guthrie County
Best in Show – Hamilton County
Best in Show – Hancock County
Best in Show – Hardin County
Best in Show – Humboldt County
Best in Show – Ida County
Best in Show – Jasper County
Best in Show – Lucas County
Best in Show – Madison County
Best in Show – Marion County
Best in Show – Marshall County
Best in Show – Montgomery County
Best in Show – Pocahontas County
Best in Show – Polk County
Best in Show – Poweshiek County
Best in Show – Sac County
Best in Show – Story County
Best in Show – Tama County
Best in Show – Union County
Best in Show – Warren County
Best in Show – Webster County
Best in Show – Worth County
Best in Show – Wright County
The next time we hit the open road for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Page County.