Emerson in Mills County is a 'Southwest Iowa community of friendly neighbors'


"Nestled in the Southwest corner of Iowa between the east and west branches of the Nishnabotna River, Emerson typifies the small town atmosphere and work ethic of the Midwest." That nice sentence is the greeting you get on the landing page of the City of Emerson's website.

Turn to their Facebook page, and their tag line is, "a community of friendly neighbors'. Whether you appreciate friendly neighbors or small town atmosphere, you really can give a thumbs up to the inviting and wholesome image that this town of 438 people (as of the last census) projects.

Late last summer, when things were still green and warm, I made a visit to the town with a couple of friends. We didn't spend a lot of time (I guess I have reason to go back!) but we did check out the sights for a while.

Emerson is quite proud to be the home of Mills County's Freedom Rock. The original Freedom Rock is in Adair County and State Representative Bubba Sorensen of Greenfield has embarked on an ambitious project to get a boulder/large rock painted in each of Iowa's 99 counties.

You can find the rock in their lovely city park with a nice veterans memorial as well.

Like nearly all of rural Iowa, Emerson is highly dependent on agriculture for economic vitality. There's a sizable grain elevator in town.

There's a train track that runs along side some of the grain bins. Like a lot of towns in Iowa, especially in Western Iowa, the founding of the community can be traced back to the expansion of the railroad.

I found a few other businesses or commercial structures in town as well.

This particular building, which is in the downtown area, has been beautifully painted. I'm pleased to see that it has been kept up given it's obvious architectural nuances.

I spotted a nice community center, post office, and city hall. It appears that they have an active "community club" that meets in the community building. I found a really cool picture of a town flag or emblem on their Facebook page.

Of course, there are a couple of nice looking church buildings too.

One in particular really caught my eye. I believe it is the Methodist Church. They certainly don't make church buildings today like they used to.

There's a nice mixture of housing options. I found both a multi-family unit as well as single family dwellings of various sizes.

It appears that work was being done on this big brick home. I hope it is being well preserved as it looks to be quite stately.

I found a number of different garages, storage, or industrial facilities around town, too.

There's a water tower and I also found what appears to be the town siren too.

Among the rolling hills north of town, I found a beautiful and peaceful cemetery.

While it is not unusual to find peonies or other plants next to grave markers, I was surprised to see a couple of corn stalks. I presume the corn was planted in honor of a farmer that had passed away. The corn stalks looked good. Even in the afterlife, it appears that particular farmer is still growing a good crop.

There's another park on the south east side of town and I found there to be a lot of nice shade trees.

Emerson is near the intersection of Highway 34, a major east/west highway, and Highway 59, a major north/south highway.

Thus, if you find yourself in area...don't just pass on by while enjoying the gorgeous scenery. It would truly be a shame for you to miss out on possibly seeing Big Foot!

The real question though...is Big Foot considered one of the "friendly neighbors" that is advertised on their Facebook page? I guess I'll have to get back to Emerson and Mills County again soon to research a little bit more.

As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile in Mills 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 site.

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