Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hauling One Big Scoop of Iowa

Near a small town in eastern Iowa, a John Deere hauls a scoop of black soil. The grass and weed infested hill behind the driver is a set aside mound of premiere Iowa topsoil from some past project. On this day, a vintage JD takes a scoop and tracks across the road to town for whatever project he has in mind. No questions asked. Know that.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Look at Memorial Day 2011 in Iowa

Every veteran's grave site is marked with a flag at the Iowa Veteran's Home Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa on Memorial Day 2011.

American flags fly on display in the stiff wind at the National Cemetery near Vining, Iowa. Know that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Golden Rails For Moving Corn

Railroad tracks near a Cargill plant in southeast Cedar Rapids shine in the late day sun. The line allows grain to be brought to the plant and corn milling products to be shipped out. Know that.

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 By-Pass of the Lincoln Highway’s King Tower Cafe

Photo courtesy of King Tower Cafe Facebook's site.

Tama, Iowa’s King Tower Café has been in operation since 1937 on the historic Lincoln Highway, which was also known as Highway 30 until a few months ago. Now a four lane Tama Toledo by-pass has opened connecting the two lane Highway 30 just east of town with the four lane state wide project near the Meskawki Casino just west of Tama.

What the new Highway 30 by-pass effectively does is routes all traffic just to the north of the King Tower Café and historic Lincoln Highway bridge, built in 1915. The bridge is one of the few remaining original structures of the early nationwide highway.

The by-pass result is a quicker ride through the two mid-Iowa cities but has dramatically reduced traffic to the café and surrounding businesses.

In its day, the King Tower Café offered food, overnight lodging (18 cabins), a service station, wrecker service, and native souvenirs to motorists on the Lincoln Highway. The last remaining cabin is located just behind the café, north of the gravel parking lot.

The café was closed for the day when I went to see it last week. I decided to photograph the café’s exterior. Prominent are the King Tower sign and iconic Indian neon sign that still defy the ages. Compare those images to a 1950s era image that I found on the café’s Facebook site. Come see this roadway icon on your next trip across Iowa. You'll need to take the eastern exit off the by-pass to visit the cafe and bridge. Know that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Armed Forces Day 2011

Today is Armed Forces Day. We honor the men and women who have served in uniform - in war and in peace.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cold War Remnant Gimme Shelter

Cold War tensions may be over but a few artifacts remain like this one. Had the Soviets lobbed a nuke missile towards 42N country, this sign would have pointed the masses to an official government shelter. In this case, the shelter was rated to hold 100 souls. These signs can still be found in various towns usually on older buildings but are becoming increasingly harder to find. Know that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Czech Lion Over the Cedar River

Houby Days 2011 ended this evening after a wet weekend. Near noon today the weather cleared. People headed to the Czech Village area to taste authentic Czech food, drink some beer and experience the carnival rides. The iconic Czech symbol, the lion, gazes over the nearby Cedar River that flooded to a historic level in June 2008. The city is still recovering, but the celebration of the mushroom, adjacent to the river, is a good sign of cultural comeback. Know that.

Another School Year Passes at the University of Iowa

Friday was the last day of the 2010-2011 school year at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. A day earlier students pass Old Capitol on their way to study for and take finals during two days of summer-like weather. School resumes in three months - just in time for football season - now that is a coincidence. Know that.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Good Old Iowa Country Auction

Today the weather rained pretty much all day. But the misty, rainy conditions did not stop hundreds of bargain seekers (like above) from attending the Gene Anderson estate auction north of Stone City in rural Iowa. Today was also very different. In the past 15 years or so the number of farm house auctions have all but disappeared. Around the 42N area you now experience auctions at sale houses that are often made up of multiple family estate belongings. Rarely do you have the opportunity to walk on private land held by the estate, that may have been in the family for generations. Today we were treated to be present on a farm long held by the same family.

Auctioneer Ed Shover (seen in the window of the covered trailer) called the sale of farmhouse and machine shed items to the mostly farm community audience. It is hard to believe that only two days ago we were in the 90Fs. Today the temperature struggled to get to 50F and people dressed for the conditions.

The Anderson property is located at the elbow of two roads. The northern portion served as a parking lot for nearly a quarter of a mile. The same was true on the road going east. I parked on the east road and made ten trips to the vehicle in the rain to store away treasures being selected by the 42N purchasing agent. Many items will appear on eBay soon.

Gene, although a farmer by trade, loved aviation. During his life he built many a model plane with small gas powered engines. He flew them over the meadows on his property. 

Gene also owned two Allis Chalmer tractors which were auctioned off for roughly $3700 each today. This one did not have power steering but started and moved like it did when the tractor was built in the early 1950s. Two farmers purchased the tractors for their individual farms.

An auction at a farm is an opportunity for the surrounding community to gather. Today's auction at Gene Anderson's was attended by family, friends, the farming community of Stone City and Anamosa, Iowa and other auction lovers. What you see above is a typical scene repeated at these auctions by active and retired farm members.

If you get a chance to attend an estate auction, be it on a farm, plantation, warehouse or large house, talk to the local people about who owned the items, get their impressions about the person, the land and way they lived. I certainly got an earful today. Know that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Canadas Takeoff at Central Park

Two Canada geese takeoff from 42N's Central Park lake in Jones County, Iowa on Mother's Day 2011. This 25-acre lake is home for many Canada pairs, who at this time of year are busy with raising yellow colored offspring. The airborne pair took flight after some commotion caused a group of the birds to temporarily relocate to the safety of the northern portion of the lake. The quick action of my new zoom lens was able to catch water drops trailing the birds. Know that.