Iowa history is rarely viewed as exciting, and is often overlooked in textbooks. Moreover, relatively few Iowans are unaware of the countless abandoned towns that litter the prairie landscape.
This lecture will give a very brief history of the ghost towns of Iowa. From odd utopian experiments to mining boom towns, examples of interesting Iowa ghost towns, complete with maps and photographs will be presented. Directions to visit these towns from Mount Vernon will be made available.
The focus will be on why these towns existed, and why they ceased to exist. The towns include Blanchard, a railroad town in Page County; Buxton, a mining town in Monroe County; Village Creek, a milling town in Allamakee County; Canton, a pioneer settlement in Jones County; Icaria, a utopian colony in Southwestern Iowa; Beaver Island, a farming community in Clinton County; Bentonsport, a now-restored ghost town in Van Buren County; Hamlin, a county seat hopeful in Audubon County; Manti, a Mormon town in Fremont County; and Red Rock, a town destroyed by a reservoir in Marion County.
Andrew Fowler, ’08 Ames, IA
Majors: Environmental Studies, English
Sponsor: Benjamin Greenstein