According to Google Maps, my parents' family farm in O'Brien County is only 63 miles from Granite, Iowa. I am ashamed to admit that up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea that this unique community, with it's incredible history, even existed. Now that I know about it, I've been doing a bit more research and am fascinated by it all.
But there's more than just history to Granite. It's a community that still has a lot of life to it and they throw a couple of big events on an annual basis that bring in lots of visitors.
On a recent Saturday, after visiting Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, the site of a grisly mass murder in 1973, I drove around the unincorporated community. I got a good chuckle out of their clever little town slogan.
Indeed, I did see a couple of nice houses.
It is also home to Miller Loaders, a nice manufacturing business that produces loader buckets and other tractor attachments and accessories.
However, much of Granite today is essentially an historical event venue. They host an annual threshing bee and tractor pull in July and a swap meet in May. I did not know either of these events ever occurred until I visited and now I've added them to my Lyon County list for the future. According to the Wikipedia Page, the annual threshing been includes a demonstration of wheat threshing, an anvil shoot, a kids tractor pull, a lunch, and a parade featuring old tractors and cars.
The grounds are beautifully kept and the buildings are very nicely preserved.
It was abundantly clear to me that whomever is in charge of overseeing this place has a great deal of pride in it.
There are all kinds of buildings of various size and use. Not a single one looked as if it had been neglected in any way.
There are nice signs on every building.
A passenger train once utilized this depot.
There's a park in the middle of it.
Nice gravel paths criss-cross the property.
There's a building that has some grandstand bleachers in it. I am sure those are used as part of the threshing bee
A few newer looking buildings appear as though they are more for storage purposes.
There is a long building that is used as storage for some of the antique implements.
I always appreciate historical signs that provide a nice overview of the history. For example, the community was originally named Iuka and was founded by the Pettigrews.
The Richard Pettigrew mentioned on this sign was South Dakota's first United States Senator. He has an interesting history, if you want to read more about him. I especially found his indictment under the Espionage Act to be fascinating.
Not only is this area near Gitchie Manitou, it's also near the Blood Run Site. Blood Run is a notable Native American historical and archaeological site. I need to get back to visit that site as well.
Down the road, there's another building with similar signage but it is separated from the main Granite campus.
The Granite Threshing bee has a nice Facebook page and a website. It looks to be a fun couple of days every year.
Now that I know about Granite, I want to go back when there is more activity happening there. Now that you know about it too, there's no excuse not to add it to your own adventure itinerary. This is an area of incredible history dating back hundreds and even thousands of years.