Category Archives: Road Trip

2010-07-26

The pictures in the folder 2010-07-26 are from a road trip I took to Minnesota with Sara. It was frankly one the best road trips of my life. I got to hang out with some of my favorite people in the world. I got to see my favorite band in concert AND we went to Flugtag! Plus we ate at a really mediocre German restaurant.

Here are some pictures:


In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

In this Old Purple Town

WEEK 29 - DEPTH OF FIELD - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

Me and My Miracle Whip Cooler

Me and My Miracle Whip Cooler

That Miracle Whip cooler is one of my proudest possessions. If my house was on fire, it would be just outside the Top 5 things I would run in and grab. It was a gift from Sara. I believe she bought it in Wisconsin. The few chance I get to tailgate, it goes with me. It did sadly get too close to the grill recently. While it is still fully functional, one side is a little sad looking now. I think it makes me love it more!

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

This Old Purple Town

RWPE #29 – DEPTH OF FIELD

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve “nature’s fence”.

Jasper County Auxiliary Images

This is a reminder that at this point you have 1 hour to get your picks in for my NCAA Tournament Pool. Click on the link below to get started:

Roundball Oracles – Year 16

Good luck!

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I need to wish my Aunt Linda a happy birthday today. Happy birthday Aunt Linda!


Bennett Family Reunion

Slice of Life Volume 5

August 29, 2017

Slice of Life Volume 4

Bennett Family Reunion

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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A couple months back I traveled the roads of Jasper County to harvest their town signs. Here is a collection of the non-town sign pictures I took on that trip:


Jasper County
Newton, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County
Kellogg, Iowa

Jasper County
Oakland Acres, Iowa – A town that shoves it in the face of towns that don’t “heart” their children.

Jasper County

Jasper County
Lynnville, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County
Sully, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County
Monroe, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County
I absolutely love this church motto.

Jasper County

Jasper County

I want to visit Jasper County again this year and go to their drive-in movie theater. One of only like 3 left in the state.

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


WEEK 288 - STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

It is here. Judgement Day. The last theme that didn’t get double digit submissions. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. 76 weeks ago. September 23, 2019.

There were only 7 submissions from 7 people:

+ Jen Ensley-Gorshe
+ Andy Sharp
+ Kim Barker
+ Humble Narrator
+ Stephanie Kim
+ Tamara Peterson
+ Jesse Howard

But what is STREET PHOTOGRAPHY? Why is it so scary and intimidating?

Sorry, Chris from 5 seconds ago. I reject your premise. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY isn’t scary or intimidating. It is awesome!

Some of the best and most famous photographers in history were STREET PHOTOGRAPHYers.

+ Dorothea Lange
+ Helen Levitt
+ Diane Arbus
+ Robert Frank
+ Fan Ho
+ Vivian Maier
+ Robert Doisneau
+ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Okay, great, you are thinking, but you still haven’t defined STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. Is it pictures of a street? No, but it is photography that often takes place on the streets.

Here is the best definition: “conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.”

The 2 most important things. RANDOM and PUBLIC. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY is often mistaken for CANDID PORTRAITS. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY has to be done in a public place. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a portrait. It can be a piece of art. It can be a building. It can be a sign. It doesn’t have to be on a street. It can be at a sporting event. It can be at an art festival. A farmer’s market. The most common place would be a business district. It only has to meet those 2 criteria: public and random.

What is public? I mean that is pretty obvious. It can’t be in your house or in your friend’s house. It has to be somewhere in the public. Where other people can be.

What is random? That simply means that you didn’t go to wherever you went with the intent of taking that picture. Something about the place you went to compelled you to take that picture. You may have went there to take a picture, but not a pre-planned picture.

Some people think of STREET PHOTOGRAPHY as candid portraits. It isn’t, but it certainly can be. However, the picture can be of street art like the example. Egene Atget, was the first STREET PHOTOGRAPHYer. He took pictures of buildings.

I’ll make one last comparison. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY is to photography what jazz is to music. It is all about improvisation. This is perhaps why I love it so much.

Okay, one last thing. Most of the great STREET PHOTOGRAPHYers worked in black & white. I’m not saying your submission should be in black & white, but it is something to think about.

Also, think about this quote before thinking about your STREET PHOTOGRAPHY creation:

“The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected you find in the street.”
-Robert Doisneau

Happy photo harvesting!

Town Sign Project: Franklin County

A couple weekends ago I hit the open road to harvest the town signs of Franklin County that I was missing. There are 10 towns in Franklin County and 2 Census Designated Places.

Here are some facts about Franklin County:

+ The population is 10,680.
+ The county seat is Hampton.
+ The largest city is Hampton.
+ The county was formed on January 15, 1851 and named after Benjamin Franklin.
+ Major highways include I35, US65, IA3, and IA57.
+ Adjacent counties are Cerro Gordo, Butler, Hardin, Wright, and Grundy.
+ The population peaked in 1930 at 16,382.

Franklin County, thankfully has a beautiful courthouse.


Franklin County Courthouse
Franklin County Courthouse

The Franklin County Courthouse is in Coulter. There is no nudity, but there is a dog:


Franklin County Freedom Rock

Franklin County Freedom Rock

Franklin County Freedom Rock

Franklin County Freedom Rock

The veteran’s memorial park that houses the Freedom Rock is pretty neat. There will be pictures of it at a later date.

Here is the Franklin County Photo Map:


Franklin County Photo Map
Franklin County Photo Map – Boundaries are not close.

With Franklin County conquered, here is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 16 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

16 counties completed. 16.2% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the Franklin County signs:


Hampton, Iowa
Hampton, Iowa
Welcome to Hampton – The Heart of Franklin County
Population: 4,461

Ackley, Iowa
Ackley, Iowa (Mostly in Hardin County)
Ackley
Population: 1,589

Sheffield, Iowa
Sheffield, Iowa
Sheffield – Est. 1876 – “Just a good start!”
Population: 1,172

Dows, Iowa
Dows, Iowa (Mostly in Wright County)
Welcome to Dows – A Friendly Community
Population: 538

Latimer, Iowa
Latimer, Iowa
Latimer – A Progressive Community
Population: 507

Coulter, Iowa
Coulter, Iowa
Welcome to Coulter – A Nice Place to Call Home – Population 282
Population: 281

Alexander, Iowa
Alexander, Iowa
First Reformed Church of Alexander – Welcome
Population: 175

Geneva, Iowa
Geneva, Iowa
Welcome to Geneva
Population: 165

Bradford, Iowa (Census Designated Place)
Bradford, Iowa (CDP)
Gorder’s Cafe & Car Wash – Bradford
Population: 99

Hansell, Iowa
Hansell, Iowa
Hansell —–>
Population: 98

Chapin, Iowa (Census Designated Place)
Chapin, Iowa (CDP)
Chapin – Established 1872
Population: 87

Popejoy, Iowa
Popejoy, Iowa
Velkommen to Popejoy
Population: 79

I have decided to no longer pursue Census Designated Places. While it is true that both of the Census Designated Places in Franklin County had sigs, (sorta) it most don’t. So I’m throwing Census Designated Places into the same pile as unincorporated communities. If I stumble across one I will have a look, but I won’t pursue them.

I’ve also decided to no longer use Wikipedia as the arbiter of what towns are in a county. I am now going to us the Iowa Department of Transportation. Their website has a great list of the nearly 900 towns in Iowa and a map of every single one.

Now down to business. What town has the worst town sign in Franklin County. I’m going to let Bradford off the hook, since it isn’t a town, it is a CDP. I’m going to go with Alexander. It isn’t really a town sign. It is the local church welcoming you because the town itself is too lazy to do such things.

But here is the moment of controversy. Who wins Best in Show for Franklin County? Ackley and Dows are really mostly in other counties, so they aren’t even eligible. Coulter’s is cutesy, but the design leaves much to be desired. Hampton’s is okay, but it really is being propped up by the surroundings. It really comes down to two towns for me. Popejoy and Sheffield. They are both great in completely different ways. Sheffield’s sign as a cutesy slogan and is near a sign bragging about past high school sports accomplishments. However, I’m going to give it to Popejoy because Sheffield looks a bit to much like a hotel sign.


Popejoy, Iowa
Popejoy – Best in Show – Franklin County

A couple of Franklin County signs had alternate signs:


Popejoy, Iowa
Popejoy Alternate

Popejoy, Iowa - Backside
Back of Popejoy Sign

Popejoy, Iowa
Popejoy Alternate

Coulter, Iowa
Coulter Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:


Audubon, Iowa
Best in Show – Audubon County

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Ricketts, Iowa
Best in Show – Crawford County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Popejoy, Iowa
Best in Show – Franklin County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Menlo, Iowa
Best in Show – Guthrie County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

No change to the BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS:


Ricketts, Iowa
#10. Ricketts

Dexter, Iowa
#9. Dexter

Menlo, Iowa
#8. Menlo

Templeton, Iowa
#7. Templeton

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
#6. Farnhamville

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#4. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#3. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#2. Coon Rapids

Ackley, Iowa
#1. Ackley

The next time we travel the muddy backroads of Iowa for THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT, we will visit Madison County.

Wright County Auxiliary Images

Buckle up, this one could be a long post.

I need to start by wishing Dawn a happy birthday. Happy birthday Dawn!


9 Emotions Project - Dawn Krause

Photo of the Day 0089 - July 30, 2014

Bonne Finken

Josh Davis Band

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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I also need to wish a happy birthday to Baier. Happy birthday Baier!


Baier Tenderloin Road Trip

Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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It is beyond time I share the photos from my trip around Wright County with my Mom and Teresa harvesting the town signs of… well Wright County. Although some of these pictures are also taken in Humboldt County, Hardin County, Franklin County, and Story County. But I want to start with a little history lesson about Woolstock. The birthplace of George Reeves.

For those of you don’t know, George Reeves was the first television Superman. He also appeared in GONE WITH THE WIND. But after playing Superman he was typecast and had difficulty getting other roles. He died tragically and mysteriously. It was ultimately ruled a suicide, but there are many that think he was murdered. His death was the focus of the 2006 movie HOLLYWOODLAND. He was portrayed by Ben Affleck.

Here is a little bit on George Reeves and Woolstock from the Superman Supersite:

On January 5th, 1914, George Keefer Brewer was born to Helen Lescher Brewer and Don Brewer of Woolstock. At the time of his birth his parents had been renting 2 front rooms in the home of the Fischers. So and so was the midwife that delivered little George in the Fischer home on that cold January day. Marie Claude was his babysitter (Her experiences with George will be coming soon).

Helen Lescher, George’s mother, came from Galesburg, Illinois, which is also where she met George’s father, Don Brewer, while he was at Pharmacy school. She was a child from a wealthy and prominent Galesburg family. Her move to Woolstock was made after she had become pregnant with George and came around the time of her marriage to Don Brewer in August of 1913. She disliked Woolstock because of its small town setting and her desire for more attention and fancy flare that she could not receive in it.

After the birth of George, Don soon acquired a small bungalow home on present day Cecilia Street. Their move there did not tame the flames already drawn by Helen, and Helen became disappointed that Don didn’t want to achieve more then what he already had with his pharmacist job in a small rural community. After a year or so, she would request separation and a divorce. There is talk that Helen ended up staying at the Woolstock Hotel on the west corner of Main Street (now it would have been located on the corner of Herman, Nellie, and Alice Streets across from the grain silos/elevator) during the separation. After the divorce, Helen eventually moved with George to Pasadena, California, near her sister, where she would meet her 2nd husband, Frank Bessalo. Frank eventually adopted George, and Helen made up fake documents about George’s past and told him that his real father committed suicide. Later George would meet his father unexpectedly during a show that George acted and toured with during the 1940s, after the success of Gone with the Wind (George played Stuart Tarleton). George was surprised that his father was alive, and was angry at Helen. He would never meet with his father after that because he thought too much time had gone by.

Don Brewer, himself, was born and grew up around the area of Woolstock in near by Webster City. He continued with business at the Reed and Brewer Drug Store, but would eventually move to Mason City, Iowa.

Well, his mom was a real piece of work.

Here are the pictures from the road trip:


Wright County
Woolstock, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Humboldt County
Thor, Iowa – I wonder is this sign works. Cause I have all sorts of doubts.

Wright County
Goldfield, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County
Clarion, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County
Belmond, Iowa

Franklin County
Alexander, Iowa

Wright County
Dows, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County
“Abundent”?

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County
Outhouse!

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Hardin County
Alden, Iowa

Hardin County

Hardin County
Buckeye, Iowa

Hardin County

Bald Eagle
North of Zearing, Iowa a few miles. Bald Eagles, the turtles of the sky.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

I believe Jasper County is next up for the sharing of auxiliary images.

Town Sign Project: Audubon County

A couple weekends ago I was able to hit the open road and harvest the town signs of Audubon County. There probably won’t be an easier county to harvest than Audubon County. There are only 5 towns and almost all of those are on Highway 71.

Here are some facts about Audubon County:

+ The population is 6,119.
+ It is the third-least populous county in Iowa.
+ The county seat is Audubon.
+ The largest city is Audubon.
+ Audubon County was formed on January 15, 1851, from sections of Pottawattamie County. It was named after John James Audubon, the naturalist and artist.
+ Major highways include US 71, Iowa 44, and Iowa 173.
+ Adjacent counties are Carroll, Guthrie, Cass, and Shelby.
+ The population peaked in 1900 at 13,626

Audubon County’s courthouse is also ugly. Not as ugly as Guthrie County’s Courthouse but close:


Audubon County Courthouse
Audubon County Courthouse

The Audubon County Freedom Rock is in Kimballton. It is the first one I’ve seen to feature nudity.


Audubon County Freedom Rock

Audubon County Freedom Rock

It is one of the least showcased Freedom Rocks I’ve seen. There is no special park or flags or it isn’t even part of a Veteran’s Memorial. I guess the mermaid mammaries speak for themselves.

Here is the Audubon County Photo Map:


Audubon County Photo Map
Audubon County Photo Map – Boundaries, not even close.

With Audubon knockered out, here is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 15 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

15 counties completed. 15.2% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the Audubon County signs:


Audubon, Iowa
Audubon, Iowa
IA Audubon – Live Large
Population: 2,176

Exira, Iowa
Exira, Iowa
Welcome to Exira – Founded 1857
Population: 840

Kimballton, Iowa
Kimballton, Iowa
Velkommen Til Kimballton – Home of “The Little Mermaid”
Population: 322

Brayton, Iowa
Brayton, Iowa
Welcome to Brayton – Founded 1878
Population: 128

Gray, Iowa
Gray, Iowa
Gray, Iowa – Heritage Rose Garden
Population: 63

With only 5 towns in Audubon County, it really puts the pressure on. I think there are no truly bad town signs, but last place clearly has to go to Brayton. Even though it is the worst in Audubon County, I still respect its stark simplicity.

The pick for the Best in Show for Audubon County is one of the toughest I’ve ever had to determine. The remaining 4 are solid, but none of them are transcendent. I’m going to give it to Audubon:


Audubon, Iowa
Audubon – Best in Show – Audubon County

I’m giving it best in show for the sign being the shape of the state of Iowa, the background being black, and of course for having Albert the Bull on the sign.

There were a couple of alternate signs in Audubon County:


Audubon, Iowa
Audubon Alternate

Audubon, Iowa
Audubon Alternate

Gray, Iowa
Gray Alternate

I really like the second Audubon alternate.

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:


Audubon, Iowa
Best in Show – Audubon County

Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Ricketts, Iowa
Best in Show – Crawford County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Menlo, Iowa
Best in Show – Guthrie County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

No change to the BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS:


Ricketts, Iowa
#10. Ricketts

Dexter, Iowa
#9. Dexter

Menlo, Iowa
#8. Menlo

Templeton, Iowa
#7. Templeton

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
#6. Farnhamville

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#4. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#3. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#2. Coon Rapids

Ackley, Iowa
#1. Ackley

Next time we visit THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT our travels will take us through Franklin County.

Town Sign Project: Guthrie County

I need to start today by wishing Andy a happy birthday. Happy birthday Andy!


May 17, 2016

June 25, 2019

Soup Supper Fundraiser

Baby Got Rack - Boone County Fair 2018

Boone County Fair - 2018

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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Last weekend I got to get out and harvest more town signs. This time I hit up Guthrie County.

Here are some facts about Guthrie County:

+ Population: 10,954
+ Guthrie Center is the county seat.
+ Stuart is the largest town, but is partially in Adair County
+ he county was formed on January 15, 1851 and named after Captain Edwin B. Guthrie, who had died in the Mexican–American War.

Guthrie County has one of the ugliest courthouses I’ve ever seen. Right up there with Story County:


Guthrie County Courthouse
Guthrie County Courthouse

The Guthrie County Freedom Rock is located in Guthrie Center.


Guthrie County Freedom Rock

Guthrie County Freedom Rock

Guthrie County Freedom Rock

Here is the Guthrie County Photo Map:


Guthrie County Photo Map
Guthrie County Photo Map – Boundaries, not close, I’m sure.

With Guthrie County knocked out, here is the updated Photography 130 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 14 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

14 counties completed. 14.1% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the Guthrie County signs:


Stuart, Iowa
Stuart, Iowa (Partially in Adair County)
The City of Stuart Welcomes You
Population: 1,648

Guthrie Center, Iowa
Guthrie Center, Iowa
Welcome to Guthrie Center
Population: 1,569

Lake Panorama, Iowa
Lake Panorama – Census Designated Place
Lake Panorama
Population: 1,309

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids, Iowa (Mostly in Carroll County
Coon Rapids – In the Heart of Corn Country
Population: 1,305

Panora, Iowa
Panora, Iowa
Welcome to Panora and Lake Panorama
Population: 1,124

Adair, Iowa
Adair, Iowa (Mostly in Adair County)
Adair Iowa – Home of the Bombers – Welcome to Adair – It’ll make you smile!
Population: 781

Bayard, Iowa
Bayard, Iowa
Welcome to Bayard
Population: 471

Casey, Iowa
Casey, Iowa
Welcome to Casey Iowa – Since 1869

Menlo, Iowa
Menlo, Iowa
Welcome to Menlo – A Town of Few & Friend of All
Population: 353

Bagley, Iowa
Bagley, Iowa
Welcome to Bagley – 1882
Population: 303

Yale, Iowa
Yale, Iowa
Yale – Est. 1882 – Not the Biggest, But the Best – Annual July 4th Celebration

Jamaica, Iowa
Jamaica, Iowa
Welcome to Jamaica – Est. 1882
Population: 224

I think there is a chance that some people might consider my picks for Guthrie County to be controversial this week. It turns out my Hardin County picks weren’t controversial, but Guthrie is an entirely different county.

Adair and Coon Rapids are not eligible for Guthrie County awards as they are mostly in other counties.

Guthrie County has a pretty good collection of town signs. However, there are a couple stinkers out there. Stuart’s is awful. But Guthrie Center has one of the worst signs I’ve seen so far.

It was a little harder to pick the best sign. I enjoy the roughness of the Bayard sign. I enjoy the tropical feel of the Jamaica sign. I like the festive nature of Yale’s sign. I like the fun of Casey’s sign. However, it Menlo. Menlo clearly has the best sign in Guthrie County!


Menlo, Iowa
Menlo – Best in Show – Guthrie County

There are a couple of towns that had alternate signs:


Adair, Iowa
Adair Alternate

Menlo, Iowa
Menlo Alternate

The famous White Pole Road runs through Guthrie County. Many of the best signs are on that road.

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:


Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Ricketts, Iowa
Best in Show – Crawford County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Menlo, Iowa
Best in Show – Guthrie County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

Here is the updated BENNETT POWER RANKINGS:


Ricketts, Iowa
#10. Ricketts

Dexter, Iowa
#9. Dexter

Menlo, Iowa
#8. Menlo

Templeton, Iowa
#7. Templeton

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
#6. Farnhamville

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#4. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#3. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#2. Coon Rapids

Ackley, Iowa
#1. Ackley

The next county we will visit is Audubon County.

Marshall County Auxiliary Images

This entry is a collection of images from when I cruised around Marshall County harvesting their town signs. I started in Melbourne and ended in Marshalltown. The weather was kind of cruddy on that day, but I still got to see and photograph some real interesting things.

Have a look:



Melbourne – That viaduct has sadly been torn down.


Haverhill


Ferguson


Laurel


Gilman


Dunbar


I find this rock thing fascinating. I don’t get it at all. Which makes me love it even more.


Montour – It says Colonial on the side of the bread.


Le Grand


Just really enjoyed the spelling here.


Liscomb


Albion


Marshalltown


I actually went to Marshall County before Carroll and Crawford, but I bungled the order of their release. I believe the Wright County auxiliary images are the next to be released.

Town Sign Project: Hardin County

Last weekend the weather finally cooperated enough for me to get out on the open road and doing some good old fashioned town sign harvesting. On Saturday. The weather immediately went back to being terrible on Sunday. But on Saturday, it didn’t snow and the temperature was above -30 degrees wind chill. Some of the back roads were still a little rough and the ditches were definitely overflowing with snow, but it was good enough for me to get out there and harvest some signs!

Here are some facts about Hardin County:

+ Population: 17,534 (2010)
+ County Seat is Eldora.
+ Largest town is Iowa Falls.
+ Hardin County was formed in 1851. It was named after Colonel John J. Hardin, who died in the Mexican–American War.

I’ve recently decided to share a picture of the County Courthouse and the Freedom Rock for each county, if I find both. I decided to do that AFTER I returned home, so the pictures of both are not as good as they will be in the future:


Hardin County Courthouse
Hardin County Courthouse

Hardin County Freedom Rock
Hardin County Freedom Rock

I have shown the photo map of several counties, but not of the whole state of Iowa, so here is the Iowa Photo Map:


Iowa Photo Map - Post Hardin County
Iowa Photo Map as of February 24, 2021

Here is the Hardin County Photo Map:


Hardin County Photo Map
Hardin County Photo Map – Boundaries Probably not even close.

With Hardin County knocked out, here is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 13 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

13 counties completed. 13.1% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the Hardin County Signs:


Iowa Falls, Iowa
Iowa Falls, Iowa
Welcome to the Scenic City – Iowa Falls – Home of Ellsworth Community College
Population: 5,238

Eldora, Iowa
Eldora, Iowa
Iowa River Greenbelt Community – Eldora
Population: 2,732

Ackley, Iowa
Ackley, Iowa (Partially in Franklin County)
Ackley
Population: 1,589

Hubbard, Iowa
Hubbard, Iowa
Hubbard
Population: 845

Alden, Iowa
Alden, Iowa
Welcome to Alden – Best Town by a Dam Site
Population: 787

Radcliffe, Iowa
Radcliffe, Iowa
Welcome to Radcliffe – Farms, Families, & Friends
Population: 545

Union, Iowa
Union, Iowa
Welcome to Union – Est. 1872
Population: 347

Steamboat Rock, Iowa
Steamboat Rock, Iowa
Steamboat Rock – The Valley of Friendliness
Population: 310

New Providence, Iowa
New Providence, Iowa
Welcome to New Providence – Est. 1855
Population: 228

Whitten, Iowa
Whitten, Iowa
Welcome to Whitten Iowa – Since 1882
Population: 149

Buckeye, Iowa
Buckeye, Iowa
Welcome to Buckeye – The End of the Line on 359
Population: 108

Garden City, Iowa
Garden City, Iowa
Welcome to Rebel Country
Population: 89

Owasa, Iowa
Owasa, Iowa
Welcome to Owasa
Population: 43

Gifford, Iowa
Gifford, Iowa
Welcome to Gifford – Established in 1875
Unincorporated Community

I was recently told that my picks for best town signs was controversial. That this person was holding back, but they wouldn’t be holding back any longer. I also will not hold back on my opinions.

Hardin County has maybe the strongest collection of town signs to date. There aren’t any that I would consider bad. But the worst town sign in Hardin County is Eldora. While it isn’t a conventionally terrible sign, it isn’t even a real town sign. Union has almost an identical sign in front of their town hall. Owasa’s sign is a little weak. Garden City’s sign isn’t even a town sign. It is a sign for the school district. It shouldn’t even be on this list.

Who has Best in Show for Hardin County? Now normally, this might be a battle. There are some really good signs in there. Then Ackley shows up with a bull statue as part of their sign. Checkmate Hardin County!


Ackley, Iowa
Ackley – Best in Show – Hardin County

There were a couple towns with alternate town signs:


Ackley, Iowa
Ackley – Alternate

Alden, Iowa
Alden – Alternate

New Providence, Iowa
New Providence – Alternate

The Union town sign is the sign I think about the most. I don’t understand the picture of the tar heel on their sign. My research as only found that Union holds a Tar Heel Days town festival, but I don’t know why. If somebody knows, let me know and then I’ll let the people know.

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:


Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Carroll County

Ricketts, Iowa
Best in Show – Crawford County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Ackley, Iowa
Best in Show – Hardin County

Lynnville, Iowa
Best in Show – Jasper County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Woolstock, Iowa
Best in Show – Wright County

Here is the updated BENNET TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS:


Scranton, Iowa
#10. Scranton

Ricketts, Iowa
#9. Ricketts

Dexter, Iowa
#8. Dexter

Templeton, Iowa
#7. Templeton

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
#6. Farnhamville

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#4. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#3. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#2. Coon Rapids

Ackley, Iowa
#1. Ackley

That’s right! A new number 1! I now stand and wait for the opinions on my rankings to be brought!

I think Alden’s sign is close to breaking into the rankings. Steamboat Rock and Buckeye also have great signs!

I’m not sure what county I will visit next, but I’m hoping to get out on the road again this weekend!

Carroll County and Crawford County Auxiliary Images

When I went out to harvest the town signs of Carroll County and Crawford County, I did both counties in one swoop. I didn’t actually need many signs from either county, so I was about to pick up most of them going south through both counties along 141 and then get the last couple missing towns coming north back home.

Here are some of the non town-sign pictures I took on this road trip:


Carroll County
The person that lives here has to be fascinating.

Carroll County
I miss the days this didn’t apply to the Men’s Basketball Team.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County
If you can’t read the plaque in the background this is in memory of an Army Veteran that was killed in Afghanistan.

Carroll County

Carroll County
Sculpture Garden in Coon Rapids

Carroll County
If you’re sculpture garden doesn’t include a dinosaur made out of old farm elements, this guy is out!

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County
I don’t wanna brag, but I’m pretty sure I could break out of here.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County
Carroll County Freedom Rock

Carroll County

Carroll County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County
Crawford County Freedom Rock

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County
A terrifying baby Jesus.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Greene County

Greene County
Because St. Patrick’s is on the National Registry of Historic Places, so is this outhouse.

I can’t wait until this weather is better and I can hit the open road again. It looks like this weekend is a real possibility. As I type this, the current temperature -21 degrees. The wind chill is -38. There are rolling blackouts all across the country because southern power grids aren’t designed to handle running this many furnaces at once. But it might get into the +30s this weekend. You know it has been cold when you have to differentiate temperatures with a + sign.

Dallas County and Polk County Auxiliary Images

I need to start today’s post by wishing Bill a happy birthday. Happy birthday Bill!


Bill - Sympathy

March 12, 2019

Bill

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

+++++++

I’m combining the auxiliary images from the town sign harvesting trips I made to Dallas County and Polk County to harvest their town signs for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT because there really weren’t that many for either town. I don’t know I went to any place in either county that I hadn’t been before, besides maybe Runnells. Some of these pictures are actually taken in Guthrie County and one is taken in Madison County.

Here is the collection:


Dallas County

Dallas County

Dallas County

Madison County

Dallas County

Dallas County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County
Who controls the British crown? Who keeps the metric system down? We do, we do!

Guthrie County
Who keeps Atlantis off the maps? Who keeps the Martians under wraps? We do, we do!

Polk County

Polk County

Polk County

Polk County

Polk County

Polk County

Polk County
Does this mural imply an integrated marriage in Iowa in 1856? I hope Iowa was that progressive in 1856… but I have my doubts.

It is amazing with all the terrible things I say about Masons (particularly in the “Comments” section of these posts) that they haven’t come after me yet. When, I know that one of the people that posts comments sometimes is a Mason. Perhaps I’m under the cloak of his protection. Do I owe my continuing existence to Joe Duff? Have I said too much?

One thing I haven’t said too much about is Dexter, Iowa and its page in the history books on American Criminal Justice.

Remember this picture:


Dallas County

It is really hard to read, but it is a historical mark set near the place where Bonnie and Clyde had a shootout with local law enforcement. While Bonnie and Clyde both escaped, they did manage to capture Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife. Buck ultimately died from injuries he sustained in the shootout.

Here is the story from the Dallas County website:

Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, and the Barrow Gang arrived in Dallas County in July of 1933. They had established quite a reputation throughout the Midwest as thieves and murderers, and had killed several police officers. These fugitives from the law were always on the move, trying to keep one step ahead of the “laws,” as they called them. This was not their first trip to Iowa; several past bank robberies had been attributed to them. On this occasion, their travels took them to a rural area north of Dexter in Dallas County. They chose the remote location of old Dexfield Amusement Park and set up their camp on a wooded hilltop overlooking the park site.

They were on the run from a big shoot-out with police in Platte City, Missouri, a small town north of Kansas City. Gang members arriving in Dexter were Buck Barrow, Buck’s wife Blanche, and a teenager named W.D. Jones. Buck was the older brother of Clyde, and had been severely wounded in Platte City. They spent 4 to 5 days in the Dexfield park area, intending to hide out, rest and recuperate.

The Barrow Gang arrived in Dexter with one car. Due to Buck’s condition they decided they would need a second one and decided to go car “shopping” in Perry. They selected (stole) a 1932 Model “A” Ford belonging to Ed Stoner. Clyde was a great fan of Fords; in fact, he wrote a letter to Henry Ford telling him how much he liked his cars. The funny thing is, Ford used Clyde’s letter to sell more cars.

Clyde, according to several eyewitness accounts, made several trips into Dexter to buy food and medical supplies. The townspeople, not knowing who Clyde Barrow was, sold them the things they needed. During the Depression if someone came in with cash money to spend a merchant was going to do business with that person and not ask many questions. The local police officer, John Love, who worked in a clothing store, sold him shoes, shirts and socks.

A man named Henry Nye, out hunting wild blackberries on his property, came across the camp. He found a bloody map, a shirt with blood stains and used bandages. It seems that Mr. Nye was not the first to discover the camp of the Barrow gang. A troop of fourteen Girl Scouts led by Della Gowdey, camping at the old pavilion of the park, took an early morning hike and walked right into the Barrow Gang campsite. Maxine Schell “Hadley,” a member of this troop, said the campers acted quite surprised. She had no idea who they were. Della and the other girls said good morning; Maxine remembered the campers smiled and returned the welcome. Maxine said she thought nothing about it until the next day when she saw two people in Dexter whom she had seen at the campground. The man was eating an ice cream cone and the lady had none. She thought it was very discourteous of the man not to offer the lady some ice cream as well. These two people were probably Bonnie and Clyde.

Henry Nye contacted John Love and the two men returned to the park together. With binoculars, John could see two cars parked in the campground. He decided to contact Dallas County Sheriff Clint Knee and find out if any outlaws had been reported in the area. The Sheriff informed him of reports about the Barrow Gang being around. Not knowing if this was the Barrow Gang or not John Love told him to bring his “heavy artillery” and come to Dexter.

Sheriff Clint Knee quickly organized a posse that included Des Moines police officers and detectives; a Des Moines dentist, Dr. Hershel Keller, who brought his own submachine gun, and many locals, in total about 50 people. The posse converged on the campsite at 5:00 a.m. on July 24, 1933 in what quickly became the biggest shootout in Dallas County history.

The Barrow Gang was up and eating breakfast when they noticed movement in the brush around their camp. The posse opened fire. The gang returned fire with Browning Automatic Rifles: military guns that had been stolen from National Guard armories. The posse retreated under heavy fire, giving the gang time to attempt an escape.

They all piled into one car; Clyde was hit in the shoulder and ran the car over a tree stump. Unable to free the car, they fled to their other car. It had been shot up by the posse and would not run, so Bonnie, Clyde, and W.D. Jones took off, leaving Blanche and Buck. Everyone in the gang had been wounded except Blanche. Bonnie, Clyde, and W.D went east and then north towards the South Raccoon River. Clyde tried to go back to the road through the old amusement park. He was met by two members of the posse: Deputy Evan Burger and the editor of the Dexter Sentinel, Everett Place. He exchanged gunfire with them and went back to Bonnie and W.D. Together they crossed the river and worked their way behind Spillers Cemetery. They were all wounded and losing blood.

Leaving Bonnie and W.D., Clyde approached the farmstead of Vallie Feller, intending to steal a car. Mr. Marvelle Feller later recalled this encounter. Vallie, Vallie’s son lvlarvelle, and hired man Walt Spillers were on their way to milk the cows when they saw a small bloodied man walk out of the cornfield. Clyde pointed a. 45 caliber revolver at them. As the Feller’s dog barked and bounded toward him, Clyde told them to pull off the dog or he would kill, it. He then told them he needed help. He whistled and WD came up the fence carrying Bonnie. As Marvelle and Vallie helped lift her over the fence, Vallie dropped her. Clyde was quite irritated by this and told them to hold on to her. He next told them he needed a car. The Fellers had 3 cars on the place but no money for fuel. The only car that was running was the Feller family car: a blue 1929 Plymouth. During this exchange, Marvelle’s mother and 9-year-old sister came out of the house to see if the men knew anything about all the shooting going on. She walked right into the rest of her family being held at gunpoint by Clyde, and became quite excited and very upset. Clyde told Vallie to settle her down. He said “the laws are shooting the hell out of us and all we need is the car to get out of here.” Bonnie and W.D. Jones got into the back seat of the car and Clyde got into the driver’s seat. The car started right up, but Clyde had never driven a Plymouth, and Marvelle had to show him how to shift the gears. Clyde thanked Marvelle for all their help and said he would pay them back someday. For a long time afterwards, the authorities censored the Feller mail but nothing ever arrived. It is interesting to note that after W.D. Jones was captured and confessed, he said Clyde was out of ammunition when he confronted the Feller family that day. Marvelle said he thought he could have taken them on but did not want to risk Clyde testing his .45 caliber revolver on him.

With the Feller car, Clyde drove to Polk City, about 38 miles northeast of Dexter. Here they wrecked the car, so they held up a gas station and stole another car. They doubled back 40 miles to Guthrie Center. There they were spotted and surrounded by 200 men in a posse. Incredibly, they managed to escape again, mostly through the driving skills of Clyde, and were last seen about 60 miles northeast of Sioux City. Buck and Blanche Barrow were captured by the Dexter posse. Buck had been severely wounded. He was taken to the Dexter Hospital where he was treated by Doctors Chapler and Osborn. He was eventually sent to King’s Daughter Hospital in Perry, where he died five days later. Blanche was eventually taken back to Missouri and tried for her part in the Platte City shoot out. She was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison and served six years of that sentence before being released on good behavior. She led a crime free life after that. W.D. Jones eventually left the gang and went back to Texas. A co-worker there turned him in to the police, and he served time in prison for his role with the Barrow Gang. Bonnie and Clyde had escaped this time, but the shoot-out in Iowa was the beginning of the end for them. In less than a year, on May 23, 1934, they were ambushed and killed in Gibsland, Louisiana. Bonnie and Clyde may have died that day, but the “Legend of Bonnie and Clyde” continues to this day.

I hope it warms up soon and the backroads in Iowa get cleared up, so I can check out more of these historical Iowa treasures.