Virtual Travel – Iowa

In previously postings I have shown examples of the tremendous population growth many of the states have experienced over the last 50-60 years. Iowa is the opposite of that. In the mid 1950s there were 2.7 million people in the state, up only 500,000 from 1900. In the next 70 years the population has only grown another 500,000 people.

It is the heart of the cornbelt, as exhibited in this graphically impressive 1954 map.

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This scene could be from 1900, 1955 or 2020.

 

 

 

1957 – The graphics are still impressive with this view of factory and a highway.

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Des Moines 1957

Downtown Des Moines, 9th and Locust looking east, 1957. Locust Street was 2-way then. Equitable Bldg. is right of center, the current Suites of 800 Locust Hotel is just to the right. Note the diversity of shops. There is a Sherwin Williams paint store on the NW corner. This was before there was suburban shopping centers or strip malls.

 

2020 streetview of the same intersection. Despite minimal population growth the city has changed dramatically.

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1970 – Herbert Hoover Presidential Library. It was built and dedicated in 1962, not long before Hoover died in 1964.

1974 – Herbert Hoover’s 100th birthday.

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Government State Iowa 1974

 

Herbert Hoover is the only U.S. President that was born in Iowa. Hoover however is often ranked among the worst presidents in history, although everyone is up one now.

Hoover was born in the town of West Branch, Iowa in this small house.  (photo from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

1971 – A collage of scenes around the state. The scene in the lower left is the Pella Tulip Festival.

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The Pella Tulip Festival has taken place every year since 1935. Today the town plants 200,000 tulips in celebration.

 

 

 

1972 – Seasons in Iowa.

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1973 – Joliet and Marquette. The early explorers in Iowa (and elsewhere).

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1975 – State Symbols

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1976,  1979 & 1983 – Generic (read – boring) covers

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1986 – Another collage including riverboats.

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The eastern border of Iowa is the Mississippi River. There are a number of towns and cities along the river that have transitioned from commerce to tourism.

There are also riverboat casinos in Dubuque, Bettendorf and Clinton. (Photo from Travel Iowa).

Celebration River Cruises, Iowa

 

 

 

1988 – Another collage but in the form of a quilt.

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Des Moines each year holds ‘Quilt Week’. (Photo from Pintrest)

Community Outreach – Des Moines Area Quilter's Guild

 

 

1991 – The collages continue.

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Among the photos this year is the Iowa State Capitol. Built between 1871 and 1886, the building is the only 5 domed capitol in America. (Photo from All American Scaffolding website)

Iowa State Capital Scaffold Rental Project Overview

 

 

1994 – Snake Alley in Burlington.

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Iowa is well known for being mostly flat landscape. Along the Mississippi River however there are some bluffs, including the one in Burlington.

In 1894 they built a street up this bluff with multiple curves, giving it the name of ‘Snake Alley’ It rises 58′ (17.8m) in a distance of 275 feet for a 21% grade.

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For perspective here is Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh, claimed to be one of the steepest streets in the world – rising at 37%. To Pittsburghers 21% is considered a level yard.

 

 

 

1995 – Pikes Peak State Park. What, I thought Pikes Peak was in Colorado?

While it does have a panoramic view, I think they are over advertising using that name.

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1996 & 1998 – The collage returns, this time with a butterfly each time.

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In 2015 there was a push for the Regal Fritillary (this butterfly) to become the official state butterfly, but nothing came of it. These maps pre-date that effort by nearly 10 years!

 

 

1999 – 100th Anniversary of the first man carrying glider in Iowa

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As the map states in 1898 14 year old Carl Gates flew in this glider, pulled along by a horse. He later went on to attend the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, later building small airplanes.

The reverse side of the map has a tribute to transportation in Iowa over the years. From canoes to steamships to trains, Iowa has seen it all pass by.

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The Lincoln Highway was one of the first transcontinental roads, passing through Iowa on it’s way from New York to San Francisco. There is a very famous bridge in Iowa that celebrates this road. (Photo from Iowa Girl on the Go blog)

 

 

 

2001 – Collage again, including a covered bridge. Those that read this blog know I rarely offer negative commentary but once on a flight from Atlanta to LAX I attempted to watch Bridges of Madison County. This movie was set, and filmed in Iowa in 1995, and the bridge featured on this map.

To me that movie was so bad I wanted to jump out of the plane somewhere over Iowa, but to each their own.

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2002 – Collage (again) with crossings.

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In an attempt to find this rail trestle above I came across the High Trestle Trail. This rails to trails opened in 2011, crossing it’s namesake span over the Des Moines River.

I have only been to Iowa twice, and then very briefly, but this looks worth the trip (Photo from Wikipedia)

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2003 – Again the Bridges of Madison County bridge!

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2004 – Collage including a Railroad Museum.

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Among the railroad museums in Iowa is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Located in Council Bluffs, it details the history of this railroad. Located in a former library, the museum at times sponsors rides on this great train below to raise funds. (Photo Omaha newspaper)

Hundreds ride back in time on Union Pacific passenger train in ...

 

 

 

2005 – Collage including the Black Hawk Bridge spanning the Mississippi between Iowa and Wisconsin.

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An unusual cantilever through truss design, it was completed in 1931. There are plans to replace this bridge in the next 10 years or so. Personally I love these old bridges with their Erector Set gone wild look.

 

 

 

2008 – Collage including downhill skiing in Iowa.

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The Mount Crescent Ski Resort in Honey Lake, Iowa has a vertical drop of 250′! (Photo from Onthesnow.com)

Mt. Crescent IA Viewundefined

 

 

2009 – Collage including ‘Barn Quilts’. These decorations grace barns throughout the state.

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Sac County has enough of these Barn Quilts they have a tour. The tour can be found at

Barnquilts.com – where this photo came from.

 

 

2010 – The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a 3000′ long walkway across the Missouri River between downtown Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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2011& 2013 – Additional visits to the Capitol.

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2012 – Small Town Iowa.

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2014 – Great River Bridge at Burlington. As with many modern bridges this is cable stayed, however uniquely it is uneven – there are 13 pairs on one side and 14 on the other side.

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2015 – One last collage including hot air balloons.

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Each year the National Balloon Classic comes to Des Moines. For 9 days over 100 hot air balloons fill the skies over the city and surrounding countryside. (Photo from Radioiowa.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh – August 2018 – Ya Gotta Regatta

For Decades now Pittsburgh has celebrated their position on the rivers with an annual Regatta. More than just boat races, the Regatta features all sort of events – on the water, on the land and in the air.

First up – The Red Bull Paratroopers.

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They came down fast, dropping into the valley from above.

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Before pulling up just before they….

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Hit the water!

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The XPogo crew were on hand for some amazing acrobatics.

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They have amazing skills on a pogo stick.

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Doing backflips while dismounting their stick.

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Flipping the pogo stick between their legs in mid air.

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These guys were crazy – but very skilled.

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Next up – the Anything That Floats competition. When we would come to the regatta back in the 1990s there were 20 or more contestants.

While fewer this year, those that were here were enthusiastic.

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A nice water touch.

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The boat was misnamed.

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The Isaly’s Ice Cream Shop boat wasnt fast, but it was steady.

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Not sure if the beer cans were empty or not.

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Sharks and Pirates together.

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As they made their way down the river they met up with one of the Tiki Hut floating bars.

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Which left them at the finish to sail into the sunset.

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The water jet guy came out to wow the crowd.

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Followed by the jet ski’s, who all were adapt at doing flips.

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They seemed to be upside down as much as upright.

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A perfect shot – an upside down jet ski with the Point Fountain, Ft Pitt Bridge and Mt Washington in the background.

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But it was time for boat racing – the officials surveyed the river.

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The crews were ready for the start.

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Some less intense than others.

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And it was time to race – first up were smaller boats that made a turn before the Ft Duquesne Bridge.

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They were quick down the straights.

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The larger boats finally took over the course.

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The south turn was right at the point where the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers meet.

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Another nice view of the Point Fountain.

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It is amazing how fast the boats separate – just a few laps and they were all over the course with little grouping together.

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Downtown Pittsburgh offers great backdrops for the racing.

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After the races, we headed over to Point Park where they had other activities. One was an amazing sand sculpture dedicated to the historic (and defunct) Pennsylvania Railroad.

This entire sculpture is sand.

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The detail was fantastic.

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The train.

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Detail of the train wheels.

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After dinner we headed back to the North Side for…..

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FIREWORKS!

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A great ending to a great day.

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Denver – May 2010 – Snow Fun at Arapahoe Basin

A niece graduating from high school in Colorado was a perfect excuse for a road trip. After a fairly long Frontier Airlines flight to Denver, we took off for the mountains, Arapahoe Basin to be exact.

After passing through town we continued west on I-70.

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Eventually we arrived at A-Basin, got our passes and rentals, and headed up the mountain.

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The view at the very top was initially obscured by clouds, but after a brief drop down the view was spectacular. What a great day that was.

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