Monday, September 16, 2013

Taste of Southern Iowa --- and ghost towns

It's going to be a busy week, but I've got to remember to stop at the Chamber/Main Street office today to buy my advance ticket to the "Taste of Southern Iowa" banquet, product-tasting and social hour tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at Carpenters Hall, down there at the base of the Columbus School hill just west on Court Avenue off the southwest corner of the square.

You can wait until tomorrow night to buy tickets at the door, too --- but they will cost $15 then. The advance tickets are only $10 --- and that's a good deal.

This is a project of Tourism Lucas County, the South Central Iowa Area Partnership and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The social hour and sampling of products begins at 5 p.m. and the banquet, at 6 p.m. Vendors who will have displays (including products that will be for sale or available to order) include wineries, brew pubs, producers of cheese, beef, pork and bison products, vegetable and fruit growers, apiaries and more.

Thelma Saxton and her Carpenters Hall staff will cook up the banquet using regionally produced products. 

It should be lots of fun --- and good eating, too.


I keep thinking up local history-related projects that would be fun to do --- if there were more hours in a week, or if someone else wanted to get to work.

One would involve giving more recognition to Lucas County's ghost towns --- and there are lots of them: from Cleveland and Tallahoma on the west to Lagrange, Zero and old Greenville on the east. In between are Olmitz, Tipperary, Belinda, Purdy and more.

Our neighbor to the southeast, Appanoose County, erected substantial markers at the sites of its ghost towns some years ago; Marion County has been working on locating and marking; but so far as I know the only Lucas County ghost town that has a marker --- other than a cemetery --- is Olmitz.

A fairly simple project would involve putting together a driving tour that would take take those interested to the various sites. I know where the sites are, putting together the map is another matter.

This all came to mind over the weekend as I stumbled around the Internet, in the wake of Colorado flooding, looking for photos of old Jamestown, which sustained damage up in the mountains northwest of Boulder.

I happened on to this wonderful Web site, "Rocky Mountain Profiles," produced by Michael Sinnwell, who has roots among other places at St. Joe in north central Iowa --- adding strength to the contention that most good things came originally from Iowa.

You can navigate the site using the left sidebar to visit (among other places) Colorado ghost towns, ghost towns in other western states and ghost towns in Alaska and the Yukon.

You can spent a lot of time at this site, so be careful. Most likely you've got other things to do today.

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