Iowa Great Places: Madison County

I learned from this week’s Madison County Chamber of Commerce newsletter that Madison County was named one of Iowa’s Great Places by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs:

Madison County’s proposal included projects to improve quality of life and attract thousands to the county. The projects will be long-term assets that improve quality of life for existing residents and provide ongoing education, historic preservation, and entertainment value to central and south central Iowa. Specifically, the projects will enhance a strong base of cultural attractions that make Madison County a Great Place.

Iowa Great Places awarded $97,500 this year for two projects in Madison County:
John Wayne Birthplace Museum Exhibits
John Wayne Birthplace Trail

“The Iowa Great Places designation is an exciting step in our community’s vision to establish Madison County as a destination. The Great Places funding for the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and John Wayne Birthplace Trail will help to realize a decades-long dream of many community leaders to construct a memorial and lasting tribute worthy of one of the world’s most famous actors whose roots began right here in Madison County. Funding for this project and designation as an Iowa Great Place will certainly help Madison County to promote our heritage and our cultural significance, while drawing additional visitors to Madison County to explore our roots and unique place in film history. Madison County is absolutely an Iowa great place, and the stamp of approval from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is icing on the cake.” – Heather Riley, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, 515-462-1185

Read more at IowaGreatPlaces.gov

Pammel Park Backbone Trail, Madison County, IA

Pammel Park is roughly five miles SW of Winterset in Madison County, Iowa. I’ve been intending to walk some of the county’s trails (learn more about what the county has to offer at http://www.madisoncountyparks.org) for a few years now and, with a few days away from the office decided to give it a start. A map of the trail is available at http://www.madisoncountyparks.org/images/stories/TrailMaps/PPark.jpg.

Arguably there’s not a lot of action here, but that’s kind of the point—the trail was quiet save a few birds, squirrels, and deer I happened upon. It was great to get out from behind the desk and out in to the natural world.

The path isn’t very kid-friendly (part of my park/trail exploration is to find fun places around the county to take my three boys) with a few steep ascents and drop offs. Not a problem for an aware adult, but I don’t know that I’d trust my toddlers to safely traverse!

The magic of Madison County | Iowa Now – The University of Iowa

With its friendly people, rolling scenery, and covered bridges etched with history, I can’t help but recommend a day trip to Winterset and Madison County. Not because you can get away from it all and experience life like it used to be in a simpler time as a lot of the marketing might suggest, but rather because you can experience life as it exists in this moment.

Along with most of my city-mates, I’ll say it’s good to call Madison County home.  Via The magic of Madison County | Iowa Now – The University of Iowa.

river of monks | gregfallis.com

Interesting…Des Moines as “the Monks” never quite settled with me. I look forward to learning more about this alternative explanation:

But there’s more. One of the first people to call the river by its European name was the French Jesuit missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette. He’d encountered natives of the Peoria tribe at the confluence of this river and the Mississippi. Asking about other tribes who inhabited the river basin, the local natives told Marquette this branch of the river was controlled by Mooyiinkweena. Marquette interpreted that as a local variation on ‘moingona.’ According to one linguist, however, mooyiinkweena actually meant ‘shit-face.’ The local tribe members had apparently been insulting their neighbors.

via river of monks | gregfallis.com.