The November image of the 2021 Photography 139 Calendar is actually a combination of 3 panoramic images taken with Rodan139. Something that was rekindled in 2020 was a love for panoramic photos. However, it is hard to include such an image in a calendar, so I combined 3 of them to fill up a page. I don’t know if it works, but at least one person told me that this was their favorite month in the calendar. So, that is something at least.
The top image is of Horseshoe Bluff in Mines of Spain. The middle image is of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in northeast Boone County. The bottom image is of the Loess Hills, taken in Monona County.
When I looked the map for the TOWN SIGN PROJECT and knew that getting the town signs in Polk County was going to be next, I wasn’t overly excited. My excursion to West Des Moines to complete Dallas County was less than enjoyable and I anticipated finding town signs in places like Windsor Heights and and Pleasant Hill was going to be equally horrible. And it was. Only, I actually found decent signs for Windsor Heights and actually like the sign for Pleasant Hill. Now it took some time with Google Maps Street View before I even left on the trip to find those signs. Strike that, before I left on my second trip. I ran out of time and couldn’t find signs for Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines, and Windsor Heights on my first trip. I had to research it at home before I made a second trip, that doubled as a calendar delivery trip for Baier, Russell, Dre, and Sara. I don’t like doing that much research ahead of time. I like being surprised by what I find, but there is no way around it in Suburbia. Besides, this really is more of a small town project.
I will concede, I never really found a Des Moines “sign”. So I’m throwing in a downtown Des Moines Mural. I’m not going to consider it for Best in Show for Polk County though. Even though it is a pretty sweet mural. Think there is a fair chance that this spring I’m going to spend sometime photographing the murals in downtown Des Moines, cause there are some pretty cool ones.
If you don’t know Polk County, here is a look at it on the TOWN SIGNS PROJECT PHOTO MAP:
Polk County is the 7th County I have completed:
Here is a look at the town signs of Polk County. Population Data is from 2010, so it is probably not remotely correct for Polk County:
Des Moines, Iowa
Greater Des Moines – Better Together – Better Forever
West Des Moines, Iowa
The City of West Des Moines
Welcome to… Urbandale – Uniquely Urbandale
Clive – District by Nature
Norwalk Welcomes You
Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Welcome to Pleasant Hill
Windsor Heights, Iowa
Welcome to Windsor Heights – the heart of it all
Carlisle – The Natural Choice – Established 1851
Polk City, Iowa
Welcome to Polk City – A City for All Season
Welcome to Mitchellville
Welcome to Granger
Welcome to Elkhart – Est. 1902
Runnells Welcomes You
Welcome to Alleman
The People of Sheldahl Welcome You – Biggest Little Town in Three Counties
So what is Best in Show for Polk County. Normally the no-brainer would be Sheldahl or Granger. There are 21 town in Polk County or partially in Polk County. It is amazing that most of them are below average. My biggest disappointment is Mitchellville. There is a prison in Mitchellville! How does a town that has a prison not have a cool sign?
However, since Granger is really almost entirely in Dallas County, I’m going to put it aside. Sheldahl is fairly evenly split amongst Polk County, Story County, and Boone County. However, while I was driving home from Polk County, I made the most alarming discovery cruising through Sheldahl. They took down their town sign! It doesn’t exist any more. I’m going to assume that it was a victim of the derecho and the good people of Sheldahl will make amends for this and get it back up in the very near future.
Putting those aside, I’m going to give Best in Show to Bondurant:
Best in Show – Polk County
I know it definitely isn’t my style of Best in Show, but while it has no art or a snappy town slogan, it is original and cool looking. I give the highest marks for originality and I have never seen a sign like it.
The worst signs in Polk County? Take your pick from Urbandale or West Des Moines or Norwalk. Although Grimes and Johnston are literally on the opposites sides of the same brick wall, so maybe they should share last place.
Time for the BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS.
#2. Pilot Mound
Nothing has changed. However, I’m putting Sheldahl on notice. If the sign doesn’t return, I’m going to have to drop them from the power rankings. They’ll still make a book, but with several demerits.
The next time we visit THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Marshall County, the site of the deadliest train crash in Iowa history.