Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Iowa, rooted in rural July 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

THE PEOPLE OF IOWA WELCOME YOU. Fields of Opportunities. Thus reads the sign welcoming southbound travelers crossing into Iowa from Minnesota along Interstate 35.

A farm site just across the Minnesota-Iowa border on the west side of Interstate 35.

A farm site just across the Minnesota-Iowa border on the west side of Interstate 35.

It seems a fitting slogan for a state that’s rural in nature, that stretches fields across the landscape. Sure, larger cities like Des Moines, Dubuque, Ames and Iowa City exist. But it is the small towns and farm sites and the people who live therein which best define this agricultural based state.

I expect all too many travelers have dismissed Iowa, failed to explore her Main Streets and backroads as they zoom along the Interstate, focused only on making good time to reach a destination. I have been guilty of that myself.

Between Iowa's northern border and Clear Lake, west side of I-35.

Between Iowa’s northern border and Clear Lake, west side of I-35.

On a mid-May trip to Clear Lake in northern Iowa, my husband and I traveled I-35 there, but then took backroads home. We drove through small towns and through the countryside, sometimes stopping, sometimes not. Randy has reminded me if we stopped everywhere I wanted to stop, we would never get anywhere. He is right.

So here are some snapshots from northern Iowa taken through dirty and rain-spotted car windows:

The tornado shelter sign caught my eye in Ventura, a small town just west of Clear Lake.

The tornado shelter sign caught my eye in Ventura, a small town just west of Clear Lake.

 

Along U.S. Highway 18 in the Ventura/Garner area.

Along U.S. Highway 18 in the Ventura/Garner area.

 

The Red Elevator, restored in 2009, gloriously graces the entry to Garner's Main Street. Garner is located west of Ventura.

The Red Elevator, restored in 2009, gloriously graces the entry to Garner’s Main Street. Garner is located west of Ventura.

 

Just another view of the historic elevator. We should have stopped to inquire about its current usage and history.

Just another view of the historic elevator. We should have stopped to inquire about its current usage and history.

 

Garner's downtown.

Garner’s downtown with some lovely historic buildings. I would love to see the old corner building, and the clock hanging from it, restored.

 

A perfect place for an antique shop in Garner.

A perfect place for an antique shop in Garner.

 

Iowa is known for its barn quilts and I spotted several, including this one near Garner.

Iowa is known for its barn quilts and I spotted several, including this one near Garner.

 

A century farm marker near Forest City.

A century farm marker near Forest City.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling