I'm not sure if there is any county in Iowa that has fewer incorporated communities than Davis County. Davis County is a small rural county that lies along the Missouri border in Southeast Iowa. It's directly south of Wapello County, which is home to Ottumwa and is sandwiched in between Appanoose and Van Buren Counties (home of the beautiful Villages of Van Buren County). Bloomfield, the largest community and county seat, and is followed from a population standpoint by Pulaski and then Drakesville. Floris, the northern most city in the county, is the smallest. There are two unincorporated towns: Troy and West Grove.
Recently, on a swing through several counties and communities in the southeast corner of our state, Iowa Adventurer paid a visit to Floris.
We are in the midst of collecting all of the new 2020 census data but as of 2010, it was home to 138 people. I looked around on the web to try to figure out when the town was founded. I was mostly unsuccessful in getting a good year, but I did see that a post office opened up in 1847. That is one year after Iowa was admitted to the union as a state.
All these years later, 173 to be exact, a post office is still open in town. It appears to be housed in what was once the bank building.
The downtown part of the city is not very large but it has a few different buildings of varying shape and use.
Next door to the post office is an old brick building with a garage "lean to" connected to it.
Across the street from the post office is the town's volunteer fire department.
Just to the east of the fire department is another building that appears to be commercial in nature. I'm not sure what it's used for today but it looks to be a neat old brick building. Perhaps it is now someone's home?
Directly across the street from this building and somewhat next door to the post office is a convenience store building. Based on what I found on Facebook, it appears it was operational as of September 2019 and thus has been closed for only less than a year. It is always sad when a small town loses their convenience store as it is often also a community hub for people to gather or enjoy a cup of coffee.
There is a sign in the window if you are interested in either leasing the building or buying it.
Just around the corner, a block or so away, is the town's community hall.
I spotted a nice but modest city park with a few different amenities, including some playground equipment, basketball court, and shelter house.
There's also a small enclosed structure with an old bell inside. I did not see any signage or information about the significance of this bell. Perhaps someone in town could put together a sign that could be placed there to give more information to visitors?
It was very hard to see into the structure. I'm wondering if there is some better Plexiglas options in order to better show it off as well.
On the western side of town is a very lovely veterans' memorial. It includes a number of different elements and honors area veterans who have served throughout the country's history.
The small roadside park is very tastefully done and includes flags, signage, flowers, granite monuments, statues, and also a gazebo.
I found a couple of other commercial-like buildings in town. I don't know if Aunt Bea's Ceramics is still in business. I looked online for information but I did not spot anything affirmative.
There's also a small building on the west side of town that is likely utilized by the local telecom provider.
On the south end of town, I found a nice looking Baptist Church.
Floris is home to a wide array of nice but modest single family dwellings.
On the edges of town, I found some interesting sights. On the west side of town, I found a driveway with some interesting antler art.
On the south side of town, I found a yard with a tee-pee erected.
On the east side of town, I found an absolutely and picturesque farmstead next to a huge old tree.
It was across the road from someone offering up a large pile of free firewood.
The main road through town is paved but many of the more residential streets are actually just gravel. I see that every once in awhile in small Iowa towns, but especially so in southern Iowa.
As I headed east out of town, on the blacktop that ultimately took me to Eldon (home of the American Gothic house), I made a quick stop at the town's cemetery.
You are treated to a beautiful view at the top of the hill.
I'd been to Davis County before, but never for Iowa Adventurer and so this was a nice "first foray" for this ongoing project. Obviously, I'll be back again (and again) to check out the sites and sounds of the other towns - both incorporated and unincorprated - in the county.
However, I hope that a future return visit to Davis County will also bring me back to Floris as I would like to get my #CitySignSelfie with an actual town sign. I had to make due with the town's fire department sign. At a minimum, if the town won't finance a city welcome sign then perhaps the DOT can at least place one of their standard green and white city signs along the road. This is the second town I've encountered that lacks any sort of identification. Whether it's having a nice sign for the bell in the park or a something to welcome visitors to the town, a little marketing can go a long way to sprucing things up while also providing a shot of community pride.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Davis 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.