Exploring Iowa's White Pole Road: the city of Adair and a smiling water tower

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I traveled the entire distance of Iowa's "White Pole Road". The White Pole Road essentially runs parallel to Interstate 80 between the city of Dexter in Dallas County all the way to the city of Adair in Adair County with the communities of Menlo, Casey, and Stuart, all of Guthrie County, in the middle.

The road has a lot of history. It goes back over a 100 years and to the early days of automobiles. Their website, which is a wealth of information and road trip ideas, does a much better job summarizing it than I. It is, at it's very basic level, a stretch of highway with hundreds of white painted telephone poles.

This byway is an important economic development amenity for this area and these communities. I'm sure it brings people just like me (and hopefully you!) to come and go an an adventure. It's been well branded and it's less than a hour drive from the Des Moines metro and a little more than an hour from Omaha or Council Bluffs.

This is the sixth and final blog post in this series. Previously, I've profiled Dexter, Stuart, Menlo, and Casey, as well as some historical sites of crimes committed by Bonnie and Clyde or Jesse James and his gang of outlaws.

If you are traveling west from Casey, the next town (and last one on this Iowa byway) you encounter is Adair. For many who travel frequently on I-80, you'll know that Adair is a popular exit because it has some travel-centric amenities close to the Interstate.

Yet, it's important to get beyond just those near-exit stops - and adventure further into this town of nearly 800. What you'll find...might just make you smile!

This is actually my second stop in Adair since launching this site last Fall. In February, on National Pizza Day, I drove over to Zipp's and enjoyed one of their delicious pizzas. For those of you who aren't aware, Zipp's was the 2016 winner of Iowa's best pizza. It's worth checking out if you like pizza (and really, who doesn't?).

While Zipp's is a popular pizzeria, perhaps the town's most iconic element is it's water tower. Visible from I-80 and from miles around, the tall, shiny, and yellow tower has one very distinct characteristic: a big smiley face. Ol' Smiley was apparently erected in the late 1970's.

Exploring more of the town, you will find a fairly vibrant downtown area - complete with some lovely cobblestone streets. I had to take a little detour to get there as there is a bridge replacement happening in town.

For a town of this size, a vibrant down town is not always gauranteed. This sign, which I found in the city park, gives a nice overview of the businesses and churches in town.

In the photo below, Zipp's is the white building on the far right.

The city park has a nice picnic shelter, some playground equipment for children to enjoy, and a marker denoting the Jesse James train robbery that happened just south and west of town in the 1800's. Iowa Adventurer stopped out at this historic site and you can read more about that here.

Closer to the Interstate, I found a hotel. As I mentioned, there's also gas stations including a nice Casey's General Store.

I also spotted a building that is utilized as the community center.

Of course, since agriculture is the lifeblood of Iowa's economy, I found both a co-op elevator as well as a Helena Chemical business location.

I also spotted a couple of churches - both very beautiful structures.

Adair is a very nice community. I would challenge you to go beyond the exit stops near I-80 and give the town a serious exploration effort. There's a lot of great stuff happening.

As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Adair County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this website.