We Iowans have an unparalleled ability to fly under the radar. It’s like we’ve had this enormously successful marketing campaign convincing everyone else that we’re flat, hogs are our childhood friends, and the only thing we have to offer the world is fried butter on a stick. While we enjoy being left alone, let’s straighten out the record: what other abilities do Iowans have that seem to go unrecognized?
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My grandma lived in Jesup, Iowa. Jesup, Iowa – as if living in Iowa wasn’t isolating enough. On the way into town, there’s this sign. It says something like, “6 churches, 2 schools, 1 library, 9 bars, 4 parks, and all the friends you need.” I might be making that last bit up, but it should’ve said that if it didn’t. I always found that sign to be a little odd, but in a funny-sad way. Someone designed that sign and someone paid for it, after all. For bragging purposes, I assume. I can imagine the mayor of the town traveling to the big city (Waterloo, actually) and vehemently letting those around him know that oh, no, no, no, he’s the mayor of a town that has 9 bars – and there’s a sign to prove it.
Beneath Shasta lies a handful of old mining towns: Elmore, Etter, Morley, Pitt, Winthrop, Baird, Copper City, and Kennett. At one point, Kennett was a proud home to 10,000 inhabitants and even had an opera house. In 1935, a dam was created, forming Shasta Lake, and in turn inundating these unsuspecting towns with 400 feet of water. And while the numbers were certainly dwindling, there were still people that lived there. It's purported that some citizens stayed until the waters hit their homes, departing at the 11th hour as the nose of their little Titanic took its final breath, their feet sopping wet.