Jolley, a small community in Calhoun County that is just north of Highway 20, is home to a "Field of Screams". Initially, I assumed it was a seasonal set-up that was popular around Halloween time. After all, we are Iowa - home of the Field of Dreams - and if you build it, the Fall fun seekers looking for a haunted house will probably come. Incidentally, a quick search on Google will show that this particular name is actually a somewhat popular theme for Halloween spots all over the country.
While sometimes our assumptions about things are correct, it's always best to dig in a little further. In this case, I was wrong...well...at least I think I am wrong. I can't say for sure, because I didn't walk out onto the field. I suppose it's possible that there are some sinister hands that pop out of the ground to grab your legs as you run the bases.
Nonetheless, though I didn't find a spooky spot, I did find a fairly typical ball field that just happens to have some some great marketing behind it.
Maybe someone locally can provide some context? Is it simply a play on words with "The Field of Dreams" or is there something more? Might it be some place where kids play and scream with joy as they have fun or is it that the ball is hit so hard here that it goes screaming past you? Maybe it's best left to be decided by each of us, and can be one of life's great mysteries.
There's some nice bleachers behind home plate.
The right field side of the diamond has a nice shelter house.
Elsewhere in this small but "Jolley" town of about 25 people, I found a grain elevator.
They appear to be hiring local truck drivers if you are looking for work and have a CDL.
A few blocks away, I spotted the town's post office.
A little further down the same block is a Methodist Church.
I spotted a lumber yard, though it was not abundantly clear to me if it is still in operation as a business or if it was simply now used as someone's storage area.
There are some other storage / garage type buildings in town too.
This is one of the longest Quonset hut buildings I've ever seen.
One particular garage has the Iowa flag painted on it. That looks pretty sharp.
Not far from the ball field, I found a nice but modest sized playground area with a basketball court.
The town has both paved and unpaved roads. In my travels around Iowa, it's not uncommon to see unpaved roads in some of our smallest communities.
One particular couple was driving around town in a golf cart and stopped to say hello to me. I didn't think at the time to get more details about the name of the field, but they were quite friendly and welcoming. Dare I say, even "jolley"?
This particular house is unique in that there is a old-style cannon out front
There are a number of single family dwellings though some are in better shape than others.
This particular property looks like it could use a little clean up.
If it wasn't already abundantly clear, agriculture is the lifeblood of this particular community and county and it's a sea of corn and soybeans surrounding the town. It's not hard to see a few grain bins, of course, as well.
I was struck by the lushness of the trees throughout the town.
Jolley is just a few minutes north and east of Lee's Quilt Shed, which is right on Highway 20. If you've traveled between Fort Dodge and Sioux City on Highway 20, there's a very good chance you've seen the big signs encouraging you to stop.
Admittedly, I have yet to stop but it's on my list. There's a sign in Jolley directing you to the shop as well.
Jolley is also not far from the popular Twin Lakes State Park. There are lots of recreational and camping opportunities. It's quite popular in the summer time, as you might imagine. It's also on my list to visit in the future.
If you are stopping at Lee's to get more face mask making materials or just finishing up riding on one of the bike trails near Twin Lakes, be sure to make a quick stop in Jolley to check out the community and especially their famous "Field of Screams". Perhaps you'll have better luck than me at finding out what the name really means.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Calhoun 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.