Category Archives: Town Sign Project

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.

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!

+++++++

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.

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!

Town Sign Project: Jasper County

A few weeks back, I loaded up into the car with my Mom and we drove around the enormous county that is Jasper County harvesting the signs that I was missing. It was a good trip that include the traditional breakfast from Hardee’s. If the TOWN SIGN PROJECT has a sponsor it would be Hardee’s breakfast. I’m waiting Hardee’s. Just open up the checkbook!

Here are some facts about Jasper County:

+ As of the 2010 census, the population was 36,842.
+ The county seat is Newton.
+ The county was organized in 1846 and is named after Sergeant William Jasper, a Revolutionary War hero.

Here is a look at the Jasper County Photo Map:


Jasper County Photo Map
Boundaries are approximate at best.

Here is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 12 Counties
PUPRLE=COMPLETED

12 counties completed. 12.1% of the Cyclone State conquered.

Here are the Jasper County Town Signs:


Newton, Iowa
Newton, Iowa
Newton
Population: 15,254

Mitchellville, Iowa
Mitchellville, Iowa (Mostly in Polk County)
Welcome to Mitchellville
Population: 2,093

Colfax, Iowa
Colfax, Iowa
Colfax – Est. 1866
Population: 2,093

Monroe, Iowa
Monroe, Iowa
Welcome to Monroe – Home of the PCM Mustangs
Population: 1,830

Prairie City, Iowa
Prairie City
Prairie City
Population: 1,680

Baxter, Iowa
Baxter, Iowa
Welcome to Baxter
Population: 1,101

Sully, Iowa
Sully, Iowa
Welcome to Sully – Est. 1882 – Home of the Jasper County Freedom Rock
Population: 821

Kellogg, Iowa
Kellogg, Iowa
Welcome to Kellogg – Founded 1865
Population: 591

Lynnville, Iowa
Lynnville, Iowa
Lynnville – A great place to live
Population: 379

Mingo, Iowa
Mingo, Iowa
Mingo
Population: 302

Lambs Grove, Iowa
Lambs Grove, Iowa
Lambs Grove
Population: 172

Oakland Acres, Iowa
Oakland Acres, Iowa
Oakland Acres – West
Population: 156

Reasnor, Iowa
Reasnor, Iowa
Welcome to Reasnor – Founded 1877 – Population 190
Population: 152

Valeria, Iowa
Valeria, Iowa
Valeria – Town of a Railroad Romance
Population: 57

Ira, Iowa
Ira, Iowa
Ira – Est. 1883
Unincorporated Community

Jasper County covers a lot of space and has 14 communities and 1 unincorporated community that I stumbled across. Once again, I no longer pursue unincorporated communities. That being said, I think Ira is more of a town than Valeria. And Oakland Acres. I don’t think Oakland Acres is a town at all. I think it is a bunch of rich pricks that live around a golf course that probably founded a “town” to escape paying their fair share of taxes. I could be way off base on that one, but I mean, prove me wrong. There is no city hall even. They have their city council meetings in the maintenance shed of the golf course. I’m going to give Oakland Acres, dead last for the worst town sign in Jasper County.

Best in Show. Hmmmm… I really like the town sign for Lambs Grove. Although I’m not really sure Lambs Grove is an actual town or just a neighborhood in Newton that doesn’t want to admit it is part of Newton. Monroe has a really nice sign. For an expensive town sign, I actually like it. I also like Sully’s sign. I’m not sure what the word Sully is supposed to be on, but my guess it that the blob is supposed to represent the Freedom Rock. I’d give it more points if it actually looked like their Freedom Rock a little bit. Newton’s sign is okay. There is an alternate Newton sign that I would consider the best town sign in Jasper County, which would be the first ever win for the best town sign in a county to go to the biggest town in that county, but I’m not 100% sure it is a town sign. So I’m holding it back. Best in Show in Jasper County goes to…


Lynnville, Iowa
Jasper County Best in Show – Lynnville, Iowa

Although, I could probably be talked into giving this award to Ira.

There were a couple of alternate town signs in Jasper County:


Oakland Acres, Iowa
Oakland Acres – Alternate

Baxter, Iowa
Baxter – Alternate

Newton, Iowa
Newton – Alternate

Kellogg, Iowa
Kellogg Sign – Backside

Kellogg, Iowa
Kellogg – Alternate

However, there was one sign that bothered me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It was Valeria:


Valeria, Iowa

What is this “railroad romance”? The railroad has long since left Valeria. There is a trail nearby where the railroad used to be. There aren’t any historic markers in Valeria. There is nothing to indicate what this is all about. My mad Google searches found the story on what appears to be a now defunct website called Iowa Backroads:

This modest metal sign welcomes visitors to the Jasper County community of Valeria, highlighting the railroad romance that led to its establishment. In the early 1860s, the William H. Johnson family left the South to escape the atmosphere and attitudes of the Civil War, and settled at the present-day site of Valeria. William’s son Nicholas and his sister Edna Valeria would play key roles in the birth of the village.

Edna fell in love with a young civil engineer named McBride, who worked for the Chicago and Great Western Railroad. She and her beau convinced her father to allow the tracks to cross the Johnson land. An agreement was reached based on the condition that the community’s depot would be known as Valeria. The couple ultimately married, though McBride left the railroad to become a dentist.

I’ll assume it is true because I could find no other information on the story.

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

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:


Scranton, Iowa
#10. Scranton

Ricketts, Iowa
#9. Ricketts

Liscomb, Iowa
#8. Liscomb

Dexter, Iowa
#7. Dexter

Templeton, Iowa
#6. Templeton

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

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

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#3. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#2. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#1. Coon Rapids

I’m not sure what county I will visit next. The last couple of weekends the weather has been rough, so I haven’t done any sign harvesting. The hopper is clear. Hopefully I get out on the open road this weekend!

Town Sign Project: Wright County

I need to start the day by wising Anders a happy birthday. Happy birthday Anders!


9 Emotions Project - Anders Runestad

PHOTO JOURNAL - PAGE 121 ALTERNATE

LOSER - BLACK & WHITE


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

+++++++

A few weeks back I loaded up into the car with my Mom and Teresa as they joined me as I went around and harvested the town signs in Wright County.

Here are some facts about Wright County:

+ Wright County is a county in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,229.
+ The county seat is Clarion.
+ The county organization became effective in January 1851, and is believed to be named either after Silas Wright, a governor of New York, or Joseph Albert Wright, a governor of Indiana.

Here is a look at the Wright County Photo Map:


Wright County Photo Map
Boundaries approximate at best.

And with Wright County completed, this is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project -11 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

11 counties completed. 11.1% of the state conquered.

Here are the Wright County Signs:


Eagle Grove, Iowa
Eagle Grove, Iowa
Eagle Grove – Chamber of Commerce – Summerfest – June 18-20
Population: 3,583

Clarion, Iowa
Clarion, Iowa
Clarion Welcomes you
Population – 2,850

Belmond, Iowa
Belmond, Iowa
Belmond Welcomes You!
Population: 2,376

Goldfield, Iowa
Goldfield, Iowa
Welcome to Goldfield
Population: 635

Dows, Iowa
Dows, Iowa
Welcome to Dows – A Friendly Community
Population: 538

Woolstock, Iowa
Woolstock, Iowa
Woolstock – “The Friendly Town” – Birthplace of George Reeves – Humanitarian, Veteran, Actor
Population: 168

Rowan, Iowa
Rowan, Iowa
Rowan
Population: 158

Galt, Iowa
Galt, Iowa
Welcome to Galt – The Little Town That Won’t Give Up!

Holmes, Iowa
Holmes, Iowa
Holmes
Unincorporated Community

Wright County only has 8 communities, but it has a solid set of signs top to bottom. There isn’t any that I think are terrible, with maybe the exception of Eagle Grove. Their sign is more of an advertisement for the town festival. Which is fine, but the sign doesn’t even welcome you to town.

Dows and Woolstock must have a healthy rivalry. A friendly rivalry though. Cause one is a “Friendly Community” and the other is a “Friendly Town”. I also really like Galt’s sign. It is a little surprising that a town of 32 has such a nice sign. There must be some money in that town. There probably is, because they murderize a lot of chickens in that town. No joke, 15 million chickens in that town. Also lots of salmonella in that town. But you probably don’t want to talk about having to recall 380 million eggs due to salmonella on your town sign. However, their can only be one Best in Show and it goes to:


Woolstock, Iowa
Wright County Best in Show – Woolstock, Iowa

We will discuss George Reeves when I publish the auxiliary images from this road trip. I can say though, thanks to Jodie Cue for the tip on Woolstock.

There are also a couple towns with alternate town signs:


Belmond, Iowa
Belmond – Alternate

Belmond, Iowa
Belmond – Alternate

Dows, Iowa
Dows – Alternate

Dows, Iowa
Dows – Alternate

Galt, Iowa
Galt – Back of Sign

Also, on the way back home to Boone, I discovered that Roland had updated their Gary Thompson sign:


Roland, Iowa
The Roland Rocket

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

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:


Scranton, Iowa
#10. Scranton

Ricketts, Iowa
#9. Ricketts

Liscomb, Iowa
#8. Liscomb

Dexter, Iowa
#7. Dexter

Templeton, Iowa
#6. Templeton

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

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

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#3. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#2. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#1. Coon Rapids

The next county we will visit is Jasper County.

Town Sign Project: Crawford County

A couple weeks back, on the same day that I harvested all the town signs I was missing for Carroll County, I continued west and also harvested all the signs I was missing in Crawford County. That ended up being less than I expected.

I didn’t find anything of real historical interest in Crawford County, so here are some facts about Crawford County:

+ Crawford County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,096. Its county seat is Denison. The county was named for William Harris Crawford, U.S. senator from Georgia and United States Secretary of the Treasury.
+ In January 1851, the Iowa Legislature authorized the creation of 50 additional counties in the state. Due to its lack of inhabitants, the designated Crawford County area was attached to Shelby County for purposes of revenue, taxation, and judicial matters.
+ In 1855 there were sufficient settlers, who petitioned for separation from Shelby. This was granted, and a county governing structure was established. The county as then designated did not include its present western townships.
+ In 1865, four eastern townships of Monona County were separated from that county and incorporated into Crawford County’s boundary.
+ After several adjustments and reorganizations, the present arrangement of Crawford County townships was completed in June 1872.

Here is the Crawford County Photo Map (borders, not remotely accurate):


Crawford County Photo Map
Crawford County Photo Map

And with Crawford County completed, this is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 10 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

10 counties completed. 10.1% of the state conquered.

Here are the Crawford County signs:


Denison, Iowa
Denison, Iowa
City of Denison – “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Population: 8,298

Schlewswig, Iowa
Schleswig, Iowa
Schleswig – Est. 1899
Population: 882

Manilla, Iowa
Manilla, Iowa
Manilla
Population: 776

Dow City, Iowa
Dow City, Iowa
Dow City – Est.1869
Population: 510

Charter Oak, Iowa
Charter Oak, Iowa
Welcome to Charter Oak
Population – 502

Vail, Iowa
Vail, Iowa
Welcome to Vail – A small town with a BIG heart
Population: 436

Westside, Iowa
Westside, Iowa
Westside
Population: 299

Kiron, Iowa
Kiron, Iowa
Kiron – BLESSED WITH THE BEST
Population: 279

Deloit, Iowa
Deloit, Iowa
Welcome to DELOIT – Oldest Town In Crawford County
Population: 264

Ricketts, Iowa
Ricketts, IOwa
Ricketts – “Middle of Nowhere”
Population: 145

Arion, Iowa
Arion, Iowa
Welcome to Arion
Population: 108

Buck Grove, Iowa
Buck Grove, Iowa
Buck Grove
Population: 43

Aspinwall, Iowa
Aspinwall, Iowa
Aspinwall – Still A Little Slice of Paradise – Est. 1882
Population: 40

Boyer, Iowa
Boyer, Iowa
Boyer
Former City

Crawford County is not a hotbed of great signs, but at least almost all the signs are respectable. Last week, at least a couple people let me know that they thought that the Arcadia sign was very phallic. I’m sure the same people will feel the same way about the Dow City sign. Perhaps it is the worst in Crawford County. The Aspinwall sign is peculiar because they took all the time and energy to put a slogan on the sign, but they put it so small that a person would need to stop their car, get out their magnifying glass, and get up close to the sign to even figure out what it says.

I think Best in Show is pretty much a no-brainer. I do like the Denison sign because I love Donna Reed and I love IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Absolutely one of the greatest movies ever made. Period. Here is her bio from the Internet Movie Database:

Donna Reed was born in the midwestern town of Denison, Iowa, on January 27, 1921, as Donna Belle Mullenger. A small town – a population of less than 3,000 people – Denison was located by the Boyer River, and was the county seat of Crawford County. Donna grew up as a farm girl, much like many young girls in western Iowa, except for one thing – Donna was very beautiful. That wasn’t to say that others weren’t as pretty, it’s just that Donna’s beauty stood out from all the other local girls, so much so that she won a beauty contest in Denison. Upon graduation from high school Donna left for college in Los Angeles, in the hopes of eventually entering movies.

While at Los Angeles City College, she pursued her dream by participating in several college stage productions. In addition to the plays, she also won the title of Campus Queen. At one of those stage plays Donna was spotted by an MGM talent scout and was signed to a contract. Her first film was a minor role in MGM’s The Getaway (1941). That was followed by a small part in Babes on Broadway (1941), with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as a secretary. Afterwards, MGM began giving her better parts, in films such as The Bugle Sounds (1942), The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942) and The Man from Down Under (1943). In 1944 she received second billing playing Carol Halliday in See Here, Private Hargrove (1944), a comedy about a reporter drafted into the army who eventually meets up with Donna’s character as a worker in the canteen. The following year Donna starred in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), her best role to date. It was a love story set in London in 1890. It got mixed critical reviews but did well at the box-office. Donna was now one of the leading ladies of Hollywood. In 1946 she starred in what is probably her best-known role, as the wife of James Stewart in the classic It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). This timeless story is a holiday staple to this day. The film also starred Lionel Barrymore and Thomas Mitchell. The next year Donna starred as Ann Daniels in Paramount’s Beyond Glory (1948) with Alan Ladd, which did well at the box-office. Her next role was the strongest she had had yet–Chicago Deadline (1949), again with Ladd. It was one of the best mystery dramas to come out of Hollywood in a long time, and did very well at the box office. As the 1940s faded out and the 1950s stormed in, Donna’s roles got bigger but were mainly of the wholesome, girl-next-door type. In 1953, however, she starred as the hostess Alma in the widely acclaimed From Here to Eternity (1953). She was so good in that film she was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, beating out such veterans as Thelma Ritter and Marjorie Rambeau. The film itself won for Best Picture and remains a classic to this day. Later that year Donna starred in The Caddy (1953), a comedy with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Three years later she landed the role of Sacajawea in The Far Horizons (1955), the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, starring Charlton Heston and Fred MacMurray. After finishing The Whole Truth (1958), Donna began her own TV series (produced by her husband), The Donna Reed Show (1958), a hit that ran for eight years. She was so effective in the show that she was nominated for TV’s prestigious Emmy Award as Best Actress every year from 1959-1962. She was far more popular in TV than on the screen. After the run of the program, Donna took some time away from show business before coming back in a couple of made-for-TV movies (in 1974, she had made a feature called Yellow-Headed Summer (1974), but it was never released)

She did get the role of Ellie Ewing Farlow in the hit TV series Dallas (1978) during the 1984-85 season. It was to be her final public performance. On January 14, 1986, less than two weeks before her 65th birthday, she died of pancreatic cancer in Beverly Hills, California. Grover Asmus, her husband, created the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts in her hometown of Denison. The foundation helps others who desire a career in the arts. Donna never forgot her roots. She was still a farm girl at heart.

As much as I love Donna Reed and as much as I love IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, it just isn’t that great of a sign.

Kiron has an okay sign. Deloit’s is okay. I really like Manilla’s sign as well. But Best in Show for Crawford County is very obvious:


Ricketts, Iowa
Crawford County Best in Show – Ricketts, Iowa

I took this picture in September of 2020. If you are wondering about the Ricketts Centennial 1999 part of the sign.

There were a couple of Crawford County towns that have town sign alternates, I need to share:


Denison, Iowa
Denison Alternate

Manilla, Iowa
Manilla Alternate

The Denison alternate reminds me of Kansas. It seems a popular thing to do in central Kanas to put the name of your town up on the side of hill. I also really dig the Manilla alternate. I actually really dug Manilla. It had a pretty cool aesthetic in its downtown area.

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

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

Here is the updated BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS:


Scranton, Iowa
#10. Scranton

Ricketts, Iowa
#9. Ricketts

Liscomb, Iowa
#8. Liscomb

Dexter, Iowa
#7. Dexter

Templeton, Iowa
#6. Templeton

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

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

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#3. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#2. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#1. Coon Rapids

The next county we will visit is Wright County.

TOWN SIGN PROJECT: CARROLL COUNTY

I recently drove through Carroll County to harvest all the signs in Carroll that I was missing. I didn’t run across any interesting historical markers in Carroll County, so might as well just get straight to it.

Here is a look at the Carroll County Photo Map. Once again, the boundaries of Carroll County are approximate at best:


Carroll County Photo Map
Carroll County Photo Map

And with Carroll County completed, this is the updated Photography 139 Conquest Map:


Town Sign Project - 9 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

Here are the towns signs of Carroll County (Population Stats from 2010 Census):


Carroll, Iowa
Carroll, Iowa
Carroll
Population: 10,103

Manning, Iowa
Manning, Iowa
Manning – It’s Refreshing!
Population: 1,500

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids – In the Heart of Corn Country
Population: 1,305

Glidden, Iowa
Glidden, Iowa
Glidden
Population: 1,146

Arcadia, Iowa
Arcadia, Iowa
Arcadia
Population: 1,146

Breda, Iowa
Breda, Iowa
Welcome To Breda
Population: 483

Templeton, Iowa
Templeton, Iowa
Welcome to Templeton – A Strong Community Spirit
Population: 362

Dedham, Iowa
Dedham, Iowa
Dedham Welcomes You
Population: 266

Halbur, Iowa
Halbur, Iowa
Welcome to Halbur
Population: 246

Lidderdale, Iowa
Lidderdale, Iowa
Lidderdale
Population: 180

Lanesboro, Iowa
Lanesboro, Iowa
Welcome to Lanesboro
Population: 121

Willey, Iowa
Willey, Iowa
Willey
Population: 88

Ralston, Iowa
Ralston, Iowa
Ralston
Population: 79

Mt. Carmel, Iowa
Mt. Carmel, Iowa – I don’t even know what Mt. Carmel is, it isn’t listed as an unincorporated community, but it isn’t exactly a ghost town either, but it does exist.

Carrollton, Iowa
Carrollton, Iowa – Ghost Town

It is very obvious that Carroll has the worst town sign in Carroll County, and it isn’t even close. Although Breda’s sign is pretty terrible. As is the sign for Arcadia and Lidderdale.

There are some really good town signs in Carroll County though. Manning has a great sign, but I have no clue why Manning is refreshing. Templeton, also has a great and clever town sign, with the tie in to their local distillery. However, the best town sign in Carroll County is pretty obvious:


Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids – Carroll County Best in Show – The best part, that ear of corn spins!!!

Some of these towns did have alternate town signs I’d like to share:


Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids – Alternate

Lanesboro, Iowa
Lanesboro – Alternate #1

Lanesboro, Iowa
Lanesboro – Alternate #2

Templeton, Iowa
Templeton – Alternate

Also, while I was on this trip I found an alternate sign for the Greene County sign of Scranton:


Scranton, Iowa
Scranton – Alternate

Here is the current list of Best in Shows:


Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Coon Rapids, Iowa
Best in Show – Coon Rapids

Here is the updated BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS:


Scranton, Iowa
#10. Scranton

Boone, Iowa
#9. Boone

Liscomb, Iowa
#8. Liscomb

Dexter, Iowa
#7. Dexter

Templeton, Iowa
#6. Templeton

Haverhill, Iowa
#5. Haverhill

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

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#3. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#2. Moingona

Coon Rapids, Iowa
#1. Coon Rapids

The next county we will visit is Crawford County.

Town Sign Project: Marshall County

I recently drove around Marshall County to harvest all the town signs there that I am missing. One of the things I like to do is visit any historical markers that are on my journey. If I know of a particularly interesting (or in this case tragic) historical marker that isn’t on my way, I will go out of my way to visit such a historical marker. One of these is in Marshall County. It is the site of the Green Mountain Train Wreck. The worst railroad tragedy in Iowa history. 52 people were killed and another 39 injured.

Here is the historical marker to mark the site of this tragedy:


Greatest Iowa Railroad Tragedy

Greatest Iowa Railroad Tragedy

Here is more information from Wikipedia on the tragedy:

The Green Mountain train wreck is the worst ever railroad accident in the state of Iowa, USA. It occurred between Green Mountain and Gladbrook on the morning of March 21, 1910, and killed 52 people.

A train wreck earlier that morning at Shellsburg meant that the Rock Island Line trains were being diverted from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo over Chicago Great Western tracks via Marshalltown. The trains concerned were the No. 21 St Louis-Twin Cities and No. 19 Chicago-Twin Cities; which had been combined into a ten car train with the two locomotives travelling backwards, tender first. The new combined train now had two wooden cars sandwiched between the locomotives, a steel Pullman car, and other steel cars.

Between Green Mountain and Gladbrook, just east of the Marshall County border, the lead engine left the tracks and hit a clay embankment coming to a sudden stop. The steel cars sliced through the two wooden coaches: a smoking car and a ladies’ day coach containing many children. There were no fatalities in the Pullman cars. One of the uninjured passengers said, “I saw women in the coach crushed into a bleeding mass, their bodies twisted out of human shape. I have seen what I shall see all my life when I dream.” A relief train arrived two hours after the accident. It was later reported, “The sight was one of horribly crushed, mutilated, and dismembered bodies.”

Here is a picture of the wreck I found on a website called Cardboard America:


Green Mountain Train Wreck

The railroad tracks themselves no longer exist. My best research says that the tracks were abandoned in the 1980s. I haven’t seen any documentation on when the tracks were removed. But enough sadness. Here is a look at the Marshall County Photo Map:


Marshall County Photo Map
Marshall County Photo Map

And with Marshall County completed, this is what the Photography 139 Conquest Map looks like:


Town Sign Project - 8 Counties
PURPLE=COMPLETED

Here are the town signs of Marshall County:


Marshalltown, Iowa
Marshalltown, Iowa
Marshalltown Welcomes You
Population: 27,552

State Center, Iowa
State Center, Iowa
Rose Capital of Iowa
Population: 1,468

Melbourne, Iowa
Melbourne, Iowa
Welcome to the City of Melbourne – Established 1882
Population: 830

Welcome to Le Grand
Le Grand, Iowa (Partially in Tama County)
Welcome to Le Grand
Population: 938

Gilman, Iowa
Gilman, Iowa
Welcome to Gilman – Established 1876
Population: 509

Albion, Iowa
Albion, Iowa
Welcome to Albion – Established 1852
Population: 505

Rhodes, Iowa
Rhodes, Iowa
Welcome to Rhodes – Established 1883
Population: 305

Liscomb, Iowa
Liscomb, Iowa
Liscomb – Just a Little Street Where Old Friends Meet – Est. 1873
Population: 301

Laurel, Iowa
Laurel, Iowa
Laurel – A Place to Know. A Place to Grow
Population: 239

Haverhill, Iowa
Haverhill, Iowa
Welcome to Haverhill – A good place to visit… A great place to call home!
Population: 173

Clemons, Iowa
Clemons, Iowa
Welcome to Clemons – Size of a dime – Heart of a dollar
Population: 148

Green Mountain, Iowa
Green Mountain, Iowa (Census Designated Place)
Green Mountain
Population: 126

Ferguson, Iowa
Ferguson, Iowa
Ferguson
Population: 126

St. Anthony, Iowa
St. Anthony, Iowa
Welcome to St. Anthony – “Pinhook” Est. 1882 – Pride in Our Past. Faith in Our Future.
Population: 102

Marshall County is a very solid county for town signs. I don’t that they have any I necessarily hate. Towns like Ferguson really only had an old railroad depot sign hanging up to designate their town. A lot of towns had those old railroad depot signs hanging up. It was actually pretty impressive. That being said, since that is all Ferguson had and Green Mountain isn’t technically a town any longer, I’ll give Ferguson the worst town sign award. Although Le Grand really pushes for last place as well.

But who gets Best in Show. There are some strong contenders, I really like the signs in Laurel, Liscomb, and Rhodes. For a corporate looking sign, State Center’s sign is pretty okay. But Best in Show has to go to Haverhill:


Haverhill, Iowa
Haverhill – Best in Show Marshall County

Time for the BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS.


Badger, Iowa
#10. Badger

Granger, Iowa
#9. Granger

Scranton, Iowa
#8. Scranton

Boone, Iowa
#7. Boone

Liscomb, Iowa
#6. Liscomb

Dexter, Iowa
#5. Dexter

Haverhill, Iowa
#4. Haverhill

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

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#2. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#1. Moingona

I’ve also decided to reconsider how I do Best in Show for each county. I’ve decide that a town is only eligible for Best in Show for a county if they are either mostly in that county or if they are evenly split among more than one county. Therefore, these are the altered BEST IN SHOW winners:


Moingona, Iowa
Best in Show – Boone County

Scranton, Iowa
Best in Show – Greene County

Collins, Iowa
Best in Show – Story County

Stanhope, Iowa
Best in Show – Hamilton County

Badger, Iowa
Best in Show – Webster County

Dexter, Iowa
Best in Show – Dallas County

Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

Haverhill, Iowa
Best in Show – Marshall County

Next time we visit THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Carroll County.

TOWN SIGN PROJECT: POLK COUNTY

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.


2021 Calendar - November

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
POLK COUNTY

Polk County is the 7th County I have completed:


7 Counties - Town Sign Project
PURPLE=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
Des Moines, Iowa
Greater Des Moines – Better Together – Better Forever
Population: 203.433

West Des Moines, Iowa
West Des Moines, Iowa
The City of West Des Moines
Population: 56,609

Ankeny, Iowa
Ankeny, Iowa
Ankeny
Population: 45,582

Urbandale, Iowa
Urbandale, Iowa
Welcome to… Urbandale – Uniquely Urbandale

Johnston, Iowa
Johnston, Iowa
Johnston
Population: 17,278

Clive, Iowa
Clive, Iowa
Clive – District by Nature
Population: 15,447

Altoona, Iowa
Altoona, Iowa
Altoona
Population: 14,541

Norwalk, Iowa
Norwalk, Iowa
Norwalk Welcomes You
Population: 8,945

Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Welcome to Pleasant Hill
Population: 8,785

Grimes, Iowa
Grimes, Iowa
Grimes
Population: 8,246

Windsor Heights, Iowa
Windsor Heights, Iowa
Welcome to Windsor Heights – the heart of it all
Population: 4,860

Carlisle, Iowa
Carlisle, Iowa
Carlisle – The Natural Choice – Established 1851
Population: 3,876

Bondurant, Iowa
Bondurant, Iowa
Bondurant
Population: 3,860

Polk City, Iowa
Polk City, Iowa
Welcome to Polk City – A City for All Season
Population: 3,418

Mitchellville, Iowa
Mitchellville, Iowa
Welcome to Mitchellville
Population: 2,254

Granger, Iowa
Granger, Iowa
Welcome to Granger
Population: 1,244

Elkhart, Iowa
Elkhart, Iowa
Welcome to Elkhart – Est. 1902
Population: 683

Runnells, Iowa
Runnells, Iowa
Runnells Welcomes You
Population: 507

Alleman, Iowa
Alleman, Iowa
Welcome to Alleman
Population: 432

Sheldahl, Iowa
Sheldahl, Iowa
The People of Sheldahl Welcome You – Biggest Little Town in Three Counties
Population: 319

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:


Bondurant, Iowa
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.


Collins, Iowa
#10. Collins

Sheldahl, Iowa
#9. Sheldahl

Badger, Iowa
#8. Badger

Granger, Iowa
#7. Granger

Scranton, Iowa
#6. Scranton

Boone, Iowa
#5. Boone

Dexter, Iowa
#4. Dexter

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

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#2. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#1. Moingona

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.