Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014-22 Centerville Iowa


Centerville Iowa, county courthouse on large square

Centerville Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
A few shots of Iowa City before I left the area

State Capitol 

Iowa City

construction going on everywhere

Ohmmm Pa Pa

As Kathy, Randy and I drove around, we found this statue on a hill

Campground:  Buck Creek on Lake Rathbun.  A Corp park, Senior rate half off: $8 electric 30 amp.  Water and dump station available.  There are a couple other Corp parks on the lake as well to choose from.  Country setting. Gravel sites, nice back-ins and some pull-thrus.  Two over-the-air tv stations.

This is one of those layovers on the way to other adventures down the road.  I’m surrounded by more of Iowa’s mile after mile of farms.  Prairie land that has been converted to farms so many years ago.  Centerville is the closest town to the campground and for a small town, they even have a Wal-Mart’s.  The whole county only has about 12,000 people.  The typical town square with the county seat in the center is considered the largest in the country, comprised of a total of eight blocks.  Made for a nice stroll around the town.

After checking out a list of some of the local attractions, I decide to head out to Avery about a thirty minute drive away in search of the famous pyramids of Monroe County.  A local farmer decided he wanted to be buried in a pyramid and built three of them in a cemetery but was never buried in it.  The crypt which sits below the largest pyramid remains empty with it’s darkened door wide open.  It wasn’t the easiest place to find, but after talking to a few locals and the chamber of commerce one town over, I finally found the place.  It was kind of like going on a geocache hunt and exciting to finally drive down the dusty gravel country road and find the cemetery.  The cemetery sits between a corn field and grazing pastures, where a dozen cows started mooing rather loudly once they realized I was wandering around the site.  Except for the cows mooing, it was very peaceful so far out in the countryside.  I enjoyed just standing out there looking off in the distance at the farms, the dirt road, the blue sky above, the freshly cut grass around the old head stones.  Ok, maybe it’s not something everyone would go for, but I sure enjoyed the adventure.

Outside of Avery Iowa

The pyramids of Monroe County

The crypt below the pyramid, open and empty

a really ornate silo

Camping Tip:  having trouble getting that campfire started, perhaps bad wood or wet wood?  A small electric fan directed at the base of the campfire will help to stoke the fire and keep it going, even if it kept going out previously.  Some might say it’s cheating, but it’s better than fanning the flames with a paper plate all night long.

There’s been a light rain most of the day and I had plans to join a trolley tour of Centerville Iowa.  After having lunch I decided to head into town and join the group even though it was still raining lightly.  After all, I didn’t have anything else planned.  After jumping on the trolley and paying my $6 fee, a large group came aboard with a dozen or more young kids, all well behaved.  To our surprise, we ended up having a retired lady professor as our tour guide.  She has lived in the Centerville area for quite some time, was educated in England and has a strong Irish background and even wrote a book on this little community.  What a treat to hear stories about the towns founding.  Over 40 ethnic groups merged here to make up Centerville which has had a consist community of around 8,500 for it’s entire existence starting in the late 1800’s through the present day. It’s early history involved an underground railway, that’s where former slaves were helped along a trail to freedom before the civil war.  Heavy with crime and gangsters and mafia the KKK moved it to help clear it up.  Obviously with much deeper plans against the small black community in the area.  Eventually people got wise to their plans and they eventually disbanded.  Even Al Capone was known to have visited the town a couple of times.  But through it all, the many ethnic groups became American and united in there efforts in the community.  The area had originally started as a coal mining community.  What great stories about the people who made this town one of the most diverse communities in the country.  Even a billionaire who eventually helped purchase and restore so many of the historic buildings in town.  Eventually selling them back to the community to be used and appreciated all over again.  Made for a really fun afternoon of learning, dispelling any gloom a little rain brought with it.

Oh and after the tour, our tour guide and her lady friend were heading to the graveyard to celebrate a friend of theirs who had passed away a few years ago.  With a good bottle of champagne in hand, ready to celebrate her life after death.

our trolley tour

all shots taken through the windows on the trolley

"The Wonderful Thing" was filmed here

An original Sears House, cost $950 and was delivered by train and built onsite

they smoke funny things inside this shop

a tunnel leads to the house across the street

More shots of Centerville town square 

Friday night.  Rain throughout the night.
Saturday.  Rain all day.
Sunday.  For heaven’s sake, I forgot to attend the Country Music show last night, just down the street from the campground.  I guess I was involved in an E-book on my Kindle and completely forgot all about it.  So today, my last day in the area and I headed out to do laundry.  Not much else to report on so that will end this short report.

Lake Rathbun marina, from my campground loop

Next stop, NW corner of Missouri for two days, then I’ll be in Kansas for the rest of the month, staying at two Corp. parks.

1 comment:

walterterry said...

More great pics from Doug. Thanks