Category Archives: Road Trip

Fat Mum Slim – September 2022

Another month done in the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. I have to confess that I spent some time on the struggle bus this month. I don’t know if I lost some steam or if I just want feeling some of the themes. Being sick for a few days in September didn’t help either. With that being said, I think there is still some good work in there.

Here are the September images:


September 1
September 1 – Something I Saw

September 2
September 2 – Plastic

September 3
September 3 – Paper

September 4
September 4 – Somewhere I Went

September 5
September 5 – Hobby

September 6
September 6 – Green + Blue

September 7
September 7 – Before Bed

September 8
September 8 – An Emotion

September 9
September 9 – Opposites

September 10
September 10 – I Can Hear…

September 11
September 11 – Paint

September 12
September 12 – Symmetry

September 13
September 13 – Tasty

September 14
September 14 – Odd One Out

September 15
September 15 – A Food Shop

September 16
September 16 – 12:34

September 17
September 17 – Lucky

September 18
September 18 – Car Park

September 19
September 19 – What’s on TV

September 20
September 20 – Texture

September 21
September 21 – Nature

September 22
September 22 – Tree Trunk

September 23
September 23 – Crunchy

September 24
September 24 – I Can Smell…

September 25
September 25 – Laneway

September 26
September 26 – The Moon

September 27
September 27 – Open Door

September 28
September 28 – My Culture

September 29
September 29 – Not My Style

September 30
September 30 – Sentimental

As you can tell, the woman who runs this challenge is Australian and there were some terms in there I had to look up, cause I had no clue what a laneway is.

Remember, you can follow on for my daily posts on the dedicated Instagram Account.

@fmsbennett

These are the themes for October:

1. White
2. Black
3. Green
4. Red
5. Orange
6. Blue
7. Yellow
8. Purple
9. Aqua
10. Pink
11. Grey
12. Brown
13. Pop of Colour
14. Stripes
15. Floral
16. One Colour
17. Two Colours
18. Pattern
19. Black and White
20. Rainbow
21. My Fave Colour
22. Matching
23. Natural
24. Dark
25. Light
26. Pastel
27. Bright
28. Gold
29. Fresh
30. Mellow
31. Dots

Some good ones in there. Should be a good month!

Town Sign Project: Henry County

Several weeks back I cruised around Henry County with Teresa harvesting their town signs. It was a good trip as we met up with Jodie and Doug Cue for lunch in Mount Pleasant. The only trip where I met up with somebody who lived in the county where I was harvesting.

Here are some facts about Henry County:
+ Population is 20,387. Making it the 33rd most populous county in Iowa. Below Buchanan County and above Winneshiek County.
+ The largest town and county seat is Mount Pleasant.
+ Formed on December 7, 1836 as part of the Wisconsin Territory and then became part of the Iowa Territory on July 4, 1838.
+ Named for General Henry Dodge.
+ Home of Iowa Wesleyan.
+ Home of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion.
+ Major highways are US-34, US-218, US-27, IA-16, and IA-78.
+ Adjacent counties are Washington, Louisa, Des Moines, Van Buren, and Jefferson.
+ Population peaked at 21,463 in 1870.

Henry County has a pretty blah courthouse:


Henry County Courthouse
The Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

The Henry County Freedom Rock is located in Winfield, Iowa:


Henry County Freedom Rock

Henry County Freedom Rock

Henry County Freedom Rock

With Henry County conquered, her is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 91 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

91 counties completed. 91.9% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Henry County:


Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Mount Pleasant, Iowa
MT. PLEASANT
Population: 9,274 (+606)

New London, Iowa
New London, Iowa
Welcome To NEW LONDON
Population: 1,910 (+23)

Winfield, Iowa
Winfield, Iowa
Winfield
Est. 1882
Population: 1,033 (-101)

Wayland, Iowa
Wayland, Iowa
Wayland
Est. 1880
Population: 964 (-2)

Salem, Iowa
Salem, Iowa
SALEM
FOUNDED 1835
Population: 394 (+11)

Olds, Iowa
Olds, Iowa
WELCOME to Olds
Population: 163 (-66)

Hillsboro, Iowa
Hillsboro, Iowa
HILLSBORO COMMUNITY CENTER
Population: 163 (-17)

Rome, Iowa
Rome, Iowa
Welcome to Rome Chicauqua
Est. 1846
LAND OF THE FREE
BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE
Population: 114 (-3)

Westwood, Iowa
Westwood, Iowa
CITY OF WESTWOOD
EST. 1892
Population: 101 (-11)

Mount Union, Iowa - Unincorporated
Mount Union, Iowa – Unincorporated
Mt. Union
Founded 1904

Swedesburg, Iowa - Unincorporated
Swedesburg, Iowa – Unincorporated
Welcome to SWEDESBURG
MUSEUM & GIFT SHOP

Henry County has kind of a mediocre collection of town signs. Not terrible, but not outstanding. The worst one is easily Hillsboro as they didn’t have a real town sign at all. Oh Heavenly Hillsboro! Do you a hole in your head or your head in a hole!

There are a couple of town signs I like in Henry County. Olds has a solid sign. As does Rome and Westwood. I definitely like Salem’s hard to find town sign. But I’m giving the purple ribbon to Swedesburg.


Swedesburg, Iowa - Unincorporated
Swedesburg – Best in Show – Henry County

There was one alternate town sign for Henry County:


Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Mount Pleasant – 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

Strawberry Point, Iowa
Best in Show – Clayton 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

Swedesburg, Iowa - Unincorporated
Best in Show – Henry 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

Conesville, Iowa
Best in Show – Muscatine 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

Agency, Iowa
Best in Show – Wapello 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 Jefferson County.

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.

Town Sign Project: Muscatine County

A few months back I cruised around Muscatine County harvesting their town signs. It was a pretty good trip that concluded with me purchasing the best watermelon I’ve ever had in my life.

Here some facts about Muscatine County:
+ Population is 42,688. Making it the 14th most populous county in Iowa. Below Cerro Gordo and above Marshall.
+ The largest town and county seat is Muscatine.
+ Formed in December of 1836.
+ Possibly named after an island that is named after the Mascouten tribe.
+ Major highways are US-6, US-61, IA-22, IA-38, IA-70, and IA-92.
+ Adjacent counties are: Cedar, Johnson, Louisa, and Scott.
+ Currently at peak population.

Muscatine County has a beautiful courthouse:


Muscatine County Courthouse
The Muscatine County Courthouse located in Muscatine.

The Muscatine County Freedom Rock is located in Wilton, Iowa:


Muscatine County Freedom Rock

Muscatine County Freedom Rock

Muscatine County Freedom Rock

Muscatine County Freedom Rock

Muscatine County Freedom Rock

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


Town Sign Project - 90 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

90 counties completed. 90.9% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Muscatine County:


Muscatine, Iowa
Muscatine, Iowa
IOWA
MUSCATINE
Pearl of the Mississippi
Population: 23,797 (+911)

West Liberty, Iowa
West Liberty, Iowa
WEST LIBERTY
Population: 3,858 (+122)

Wilton, Iowa
Wilton, Iowa (Partially in Cedar County)
WELCOME TO WILTON
HOME OF THE BEAVERS
Population: 2,924 (+122)

Fruitland, Iowa
Fruitland, Iowa
Welcome to…
FRUITLAND
“A Growing Community”
Population 703
Population: 963 (-14)

Conesville, Iowa
Conesville, Iowa
WELCOME TO CONESVILLE
Population: 352 (-80)

Nichols, Iowa
Nichols, Iowa
Welcome to NICHOLS
Small town Big heart
Population: 340 (-34)

Atalissa, Iowa
Atalissa, Iowa
WELCOME TO
Est. 1856
ATALISSA
Pop 271 & 2 Grumps
Population: 296 (-15)

Stockton, Iowa
Stockton, Iowa
WELCOME TO STOCKTON
Population: 176 (-21)

Moscow, Iowa - Unincorporated
Moscow, Iowa – Unincorporated
MOSCOW
1836 SEQUICENTENNIAL 1986

Montpelier, Iowa - Unincorporated
Montpelier, Iowa – Unincorporated
THE VILLAGE OF MONTPELIER
Welcomes You!
est. May 9, 1881

Muscatine County has a pretty solid collection of town signs. I’m not sure which is the worst. It is either West Liberty or Moscow. I’m going to go with Moscow as being the worst because when you have a town name like Moscow, you really should do something sweet with your sign. But I still give any unincorporated town a bit of respect for having a sign.

I love the Fruitland sign for its artwork. I love the Nichols sign because it has been beautifully abandoned. I love that Atalissa has taken the grump count to Readlyn and upped them by one. I love the beaver artwork on the Wilton town sign. I love how the Stockton town sign is so in your face about how they are polluting and destroying the environment. Deal with it. I have a feeling a few of those are going to make it into the book. The book that I hope to start working on sometime around November. But I’m going to have to give the purple ribbon to Conesville.


Conesville, Iowa
Conesville – Best in Show – Muscatine County

There are a few alternate town signs in Muscatine County:


Nichols, Iowa
Nichols – Alternate

Fruitland, Iowa
Fruitland – Alternate

Conesville, Iowa
Conesville – Alternate

Wilton, Iowa
Wilton – 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

Strawberry Point, Iowa
Best in Show – Clayton 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

Conesville, Iowa
Best in Show – Muscatine 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

Agency, Iowa
Best in Show – Wapello 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 the town signs of Henry County.

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.

Town Sign Project: Wapello County

A few months back I cruised around Wapello County harvesting their town signs. It was a good trip.

Here are some facts about Wapello County:
+ Population is 35,256. Making it the 20th most populous county in Iowa. Below Sioux County and above Marion County.
+ The largest town and county seat is Ottumwa.
+ Was formed on February 17, 1843.
+ Named for the Meskwaki Chief Wapello.
+ The “birthplace” of Iowa.
+ Site of the house in the background of Grant Wood’s painting “American Gothic”.
+ Major highways are: US-34, US-63, IA-16, IA-137, IA-149.
+ Adjacent counties are Mahaska, Keokuk, Jefferson, Davis, and Monroe.
+ Population peaked in 1950 at 47,397.

The Wapello Courthouse is kinda cool looking but the statue on the top is next level:


Wapello County Courthouse
Wapello County Courthouse in Ottumwa, Iowa.

The Wapello County Freedom Rock is located in Ottumwa, Iowa.


Wapello County Freedom Rock

Wapello County Freedom Rock

Wapello County Freedom Rock

Wapello County Freedom Rock

Wapello County Freedom Rock

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


Town Sign Project - 89 Counties
PURPLE=STRONG

89 counties completed. 88.9% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Wapello County:


Ottumwa, Iowa
Ottumwa, Iowa
OTTUMWA
CITY OF BRIDGES
Population: 25,529 (+506)

Eddyville, Iowa
Eddyville, Iowa – Also in Mahaska and Monroe Counties
Home of the Rockets
EDDYVILLE
SINCE 1840
Population: 970 (-54)

Eldon, Iowa
Eldon, Iowa
Welcome to ELDON
Home of the American Gothic House
Population: 783 (-144)

Agency, Iowa
Agency, Iowa
Agency
Home of Chief Wapello
Population: 620 (-18)

Blakesburg,Iowa
Blakesburg, Iowa
Welcome To BLAKESBURG
Founded in 1854
Population: 274 (-22)

Kirkville, Iowa
Kirkville, Iowa
WELCOME TO KIRKVILLE
EST. 1844
Population: 157 (-10)

Chillicothe, Iowa
Chillicothe, Iowa
WELCOME TO Chillicothe
Est. 1881
Population: 76 (-21)

I don’t know that there is really a bad town sign in the bunch. I would say the most disappointing is Eldon. When yo have something so iconic as the American Gothic house in your town, your really need to do better with your town sign.

As for the purple ribbon. Best in Show? I really like the Chillicothe sign, but it has to go to Agency.


Agency, Iowa
Agency – Best in Show – Wapello County

There was only on alternate town sign in Wapello County:


Agency, Iowa
Agency – 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

Strawberry Point, Iowa
Best in Show – Clayton 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

Agency, Iowa
Best in Show – Wapello 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 Muscatine County.

Mitchell and Floyd Aux – Vol. 2

Time for another collection of images from my road trip to Mitchell and Floyd County back in April. Most of the pictures were taken in Mitchell County.


Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar
Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Mona
Mona

Mitchell County

Mitchellville - Toeterville
Toeterville

Mitchellville - Toeterville

Mitchell County - Stacyville
Stacyville

Mitchell County - Stacyville

Mitchell County - Stacyville

Mitchell County - Meyer
Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - Meyer

Mitchell County - McIntire
McIntire

Mitchell County - McIntire

Mitchell County - McIntire

Mitchell County - Riceville
Riceville

Mitchell County - Riceville

Mitchell County - Riceville

Mitchell County - Riceville

Mitchell County - Riceville

Mitchell County

Mitchell County - New Haven
New Haven

Mitchell County - Osage
Osage

Mitchell County - Osage

Mitchell County - Osage

Mitchell County - Osage

I really liked Osage. It is a town I would like to explore again in the future. It goes on the list! One more collection from this road trip to go!

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.

Town Sign Project: Clayton County

A few months back I made two separate trips to harvest the town signs of Clayton County. It was a great trip and I truly believe that Clayton County is one of the prettiest counties in Iowa. The whole region of Iowa is spectacular!

Here are some facts about Clayton County:
+ Population is 16,998. Making it the 41st most populous county in Iowa. Below Delaware County and above Tama County.
+ The largest town is Postville. The county seat is Elkader.
+ Established in 1837.
+ Named after John M. Clayton, a Senator from Delaware and the Secretary of State under Zachary Taylor.
+ Part of the Driftless Area.
+ 5th largest county in Iowa by area.
+ Home to Effigy Mounds National Monument. (Partially)
+ Major highways are US-18, US-13, US-52, IA-128, IA-56, IA-3, and IA-76.
+ Adjacent counties are Allamakee, Dubuque, Fayette, Delaware, Winneshiek, and Buchanan.
+ Population peaked at 28,829 in 1880.

Clayton County has a decent, but not spectacular looking courthouse:


Clayton County Courthouse
The Clayton County Courthouse in Elkader, Iowa.

The Clayton County Freedom Rock is located in Guttenberg:


Clatyon County Freedom Rock

Clatyon County Freedom Rock

Clatyon County Freedom Rock

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


Town Sign Project - 88 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

88 counties completed. 88.9% of the Cyclone State conquered!

Here are the town signs of Clayton County:


Postville, iowa
Postville, Iowa (Partially in Allamakee County)
EST. 1849
POSTVILLE
Hometown to the World
Population: 2,503 (+276)

Guttenberg, Iowa
Guttenberg, Iowa
Guttenberg
Historic Rivertown
Population: 1,817 (-102)

Monona, Iowa
Monona, Iowa
Garden City of Iowa
MONONA
Incorporate 1897
Population: 1,471 (-78)

Elkader, Iowa
Elkader, Iowa
WELCOME TO ELKDAER
SHOP DINE EXPLORE & MORE
Population: 1,209 (-64)

Strawberry Point, Iowa
Strawberry Point, Iowa
STRAWBERRY POINT
Population: 1,155 (-124)

Edgewood, Iowa
Edgewood, Iowa (Partially Delaware County)
CITY OF EDGEWOOD
Population: 909 (+45)

Garnavillo, Iowa
Garnavillo, Iowa
Welcome To GARNAVILLO
Gem of the Prairie
Population: 763 (+18)

McGregor, Iowa
McGregor, Iowa
Est. 1837
WELCOME TO HISTORIC McGREGOR
Home of Pikes Peak
Population: 742 (-130)

Marquette, Iowa
Marquette, Iowa
MARQUETTE
WELCOMES YOU
Population: 429 (+54)

Luana, Iowa
Luana, Iowa
Welcome to LUANA
Population: 301 (+32)

Farmersburg, Iowa
Farmersburg, Iowa
Farmersburg
THE SMALL TOWN IN THE COUNTRY
Population: 271 (-31)

Volga City, Iowa
Volga City, Iowa
VOLGA CITY
Population: 203 (-5)

North Buena Vista, Iowa
North Buena Vista, Iowa
Welcome to:
North Buena Vista
GROTTO
BOATING FISHING
Population: 109 (-12)

St. Olaf, Iowa
St. Olaf, Iowa
St. Olaf Civic Center
Population: 106 (-2)

Elkport and Garber, Iowa
Garber & Elkport, Iowa
Welcome to the Elkport-Garber Community
Where The Rivers Run Wild
Garber Population: 76 (-12)
Elkport Population: 29 (-8)

Clayton, Iowa
Clayton, Iowa
CLAYTON
Est. 1849
Population: 45 (+2)

Osterdock, Iowa
Osterdock, Iowa
Welcome to Osterdock
God’s Country
Population: 43 (-16)

Hardin, Iowa - Ghost Town
Hardin, Iowa – Ghost Town
VILLAGE OF HARDIN

That is a pretty solid set of town signs. I think the worst one is pretty obvious though. It is St. Olaf. It isn’t really a town sign, just a sign marking their Civic Center.

But who gets the purple ribbon for Clayton County? I love the signs for Osterdock and Marquette and Guttenberg and Elkport-Garber and Garnavillo and Monona and Postville. Volage City’s town sign is a fountain! A FOUNTAIN! I don’t imagine there is another town sign in Iowa that is a fountain. But only one town has a town sign that is also the world’s largest strawberry. I have to give the prize to Strawberry Point.


Strawberry Point, Iowa
Strawberry Point – Best in Show – Clayton County

There are quite a few alternate town signs in Clayton County:


McGregor, Iowa
McGregor – Alternate

Guttenberg, Iowa
Guttenberg – Alternate

Volga City, Iowa
Volga City – Alternate

Strawberry Point, Iowa
Strawberry Point – Alternate

Monona, Iowa
Monona – 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

Strawberry Point, Iowa
Best in Show – Clayton 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 Wapello County.