Just about every small town around Iowa will tell you they are welcoming, down to earth, and friendly. However, not all of them go so far as to put it in writing on their welcome sign. However, one small town of about 435 people in Ida County does - and that town is Galva.
I can appreciate a town with some confidence. They are not saying they are "a" friendly town. They are are "the" friendly town.
Located just a few miles to the north of the recently completed four-lane Highway 20, Galva is situated between Early and Holstein as you are headed on that route.
On a recent Sunday, as I was headed between my parents' farm in O'Brien County and where I reside in West Des Moines, I made a stop in Galva to see the sites. I cannot remember if I've ever actually stopped in Galva before, but I have regularly passed the Quad County Corn Processors ethanol plant that sits along the highway.
You can barely see the plant from the southern most edge of town.
Across the road from the plant and visible from the highway is an FCA (First Cooperative Association) Cenex fueling station. There's no convenient store there but if all you need is a quick fuel up, this might be a good place to consider the next time you are in the area.
Incidentally, they advertise that they are the home of Iowa's first blender up. Blender pumps are infrastructure that help to incorporate higher blends of renewable fuels.
In town, I found a large grain elevator along with other agriculture input equipment, like nurse tanks for anhydrous, on the north side of town.
Just south of the elevator is the business district which includes a number of different buildings in various stages of use and condition. The downtown even has some nice light pole banners that keep with the theme of being 'the friendly town'.
I found what appears to be a community bank - United Bank of Iowa.
One of the old brick buildings has a mural painted on the side of it. I imagine it depicts images from what Galva probably looked like at the time of it's founding. Incidentally, according to some online research, it appears that Galva, Iowa is named after Galva, Illinois as that was where they lived before they headed west to Iowa.
There is an American Legion building which includes some iconic images on the front and then a listing of area veterans on the south side of the building.
The B&C Melody Inn looks to be a bar and across the street is Sizzlin' J's, a barbeque restaurant. Based on what I see on their Facebook page, I'll definitely be adding that to my list of stops in the future.
Of course, I found a garage which houses the community's emergency services vehicles.
Goettsch Dispatch and Grain has an impressive garage and office in the downtown area as well.
The Galva City Hall and the public library are also in the downtown part of the city.
Galva has a number of nice single family dwellings of varying size.
On one of the streets, this old tree really grabbed my attention.
There's a newer development on the south side of town
On the east side of town I found the water tower.
I also found the Galva-Holstein Middle School. However, I believe there has been some consolidation and the district is now known as Ridge View - home of the Raptors.
There's a ball diamond near the school as well.
I also found a walking path of sorts that is also a memorial trail.
Not far from the school is the city park. A few campers were enjoying the wealth of amenities.
I'm not entirely sure what the significance of this military vehicle is, but it is parked in the northwest corner of the park.
Near the park I found the administrative office for Quad County Corn Processors.
I found a large and very beautiful St. John's Lutheran Church. Across the street was three crosses arranged in the same manner as the crucifixion.
The main county blacktop going through town from east to west was undergoing some road construction. Thus, I ran into a couple of side streets that were blocked off in one direction.
Before getting back on the road, I stopped out at the cemetery on the east side of town. There is also a veterans memorial there.
Galva is a beautiful community that appears to be very clean. All of the rain this spring has made things very lush. I didn't find many people to talk to but I will take them at their word that they are as friendly as they advertise. I'll be sure to stop back in town again in the future as I will definitely want to try the BBQ joint. However, there's a lot more to see and do in Ida County and I look forward to getting back to do some more adventuring again soon.