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

Advertisements
 

35 Responses to “Iowa, rooted in rural”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Those old elevators are becoming rarer by the day. Love that Century Farm sign.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    Yes, Iowa has quite the reputation(s)!!!! Unless one is taking a route closer to the Mississippi, the roads are very gridded and predictable………equals somewhat boring from a motorcyclist’s perspective…….but the towns are quaint and have the wonderful rural ‘finds’ that make such excursions pleasurable.

  3. Marneymae Says:

    Although I grew up in Illinois, I’ve lived in the Northeast since 1989 & I’m always struck by the beauty of Flat in the Midwest.
    Made me smile, reading about your exchange between you & your husband about stopping/not stopping.
    Some lovely buildings in this town.

  4. Great Captures – love the watering can 🙂 I love road tripping through the back roads and usually have camera in hand because cannot stop at every place of interest along the way. Happy Day – Enjoy!

    • We share that commonality of travel photography. Back roads are where you see “real America.”

    • Iowa is my birth place. I grew up in Minnesota, Michigan and Florida, Then moved Out West and was there for 10 years and now moved to the Southeast. I love the flat, the mountains, the water, the rural, the urban, the city. After this last road trip cross country I have seen 31 of the 50 states.

      • Wow, you have been transient. Me? Minnesota, all my life.

      • I prefer modern day gypsy – ha! My whole family is that way – one set of parents lives in 2 states throughout the year while the other set is on wheels (RVers) and lives in 2 if not 4 or 5 states throughout the year, my brother and his family moved ten years ago and are thinking of moving to another state next year. My brother-in-law has been in one state his whole life – he likes being rooted in one place.

      • I am not a gypsy, although I once dressed as one for Halloween, plastic gypsy mask and all.

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    So glad you got to see some of the countryside of Iowa while you made your way to Clear Lake. I have explored far more of Iowa than I thought I would and there are some really amazing places. Glad you were able to see s em of the fun things along the way.

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    In the late 19th century, Iowa ranked 10th in state population. The prosperity of those times still lingers in that stately homes of its small towns.

  7. markthinks13 Says:

    you have provided a picture of america!

  8. Great pictures but I especially liked the century farm picture.

  9. Don Says:

    I love the brick buildings in your pictures! Because of the transportation costs there are very few brick buildings here and I miss that. I love the elevator. With enough renovation I think it would make a great living space, however it would be large. I can imagine adding some more window to the top and enjoying the view.

  10. Littlesundog Says:

    One thing I love about traveling back to my native Nebraska is seeing the old elevators. We don’t have many here in Oklahoma.

  11. Jackie Says:

    I’m beginning to think I need to add “old grain elevators” to my list of awe! I love the watering can farm marker, such a cool idea, I love that it’s a century old family farm!

  12. Sue Ready Says:

    Wow a really nice slice of small town America. You really should put together a book of your photographs adding a line of prose. I’m sure your readers would buy a copy..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s