You are probably familiar with the Continental Divide, the spot on the map that determines whether water will drain heading west to the Pacific Ocean or east to the Atlantic Ocean. There are a numerous spots in our North American continent (on the western half of the United States as well as Canada and Mexico) where you can find the divide and take a photo with the often accompanying sign.
But, did you know there's also a divide in our state? No, I'm not talking about the Hawkeyes and Cyclones.
With the east border created by the Mississippi River and the west border largely by the Missouri River, the rain that falls in our state has to drain somewhere, right? There are plenty of spots that can claim to be be where where the rivers divide, as this map shows a nice dotted line.
One town, Lorimor, in northeast Union County, a county that is in southwest Iowa, has made the geological divide a big piece of their 'welcome' sign.
Like a lot of towns in Iowa, Lorimor can trace it's founding to the expansion of the railroad. The town got it's name because a local farmer with the last name of Lorimor donated some land. We don't yet have the new 2020 census data, but Lorimor had a population of 360 people as of the 2010 census. Highway 169 runs north and south through town and it's about right in the middle of three larger communities: Winterset, Osceola, and Creston, a fellow Union County community.
Iowa Adventurer paid a visit to this small town during the warmer (and greener) months of 2020 and found it to be quaint. Some towns in Iowa barely have one welcome sign but Lorimor has two. I always appreciate that. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned. I opted to get my #CitySignSelfie with the one that has the slogan on it.
The town also has a water tower that bears its name.
The water tower is near the garage that houses the fire and ambulance service.
There are several other buildings in the downtown area of the city. Many of them are brick because the city required brick buildings to be built in the business district after some fires in the late 1800s.
I'm not sure what this particular long brick building is used for these days, but it looks like it might have once been a garage with a number of doors. I'm not sure what the condition of the building is or how expensive it would be to fix up, but this building struck me as a cool spot to open up a brewery.
This particular building, which is somewhat ornate, is used as the post office.
Both of these old brick buildings are quite attractive.
It's too bad that this old building is all boarded up. What a neat structure. I hope someone can figure out a way to give it a new life. I don't know what the inside looks like, but perhaps it could be a co-working space for the community. As the future of office work evolves, a space in every community with top-of-the-line Internet will be valuable. Maybe the bottom could also be a coffee shop with that? Is the upstairs capable of being an apartment or perhaps an Airbnb?
There's a nice green space park with a picnic shelter in the business district. It's next door to the American Legion building.
There are a couple of nice monuments in this spot.
This historic infirmary building is quite neat.
There's an old three-story brick school building. On the day of my visit, there were a lot of cars near it. Perhaps it is now housing?
There's a small park-like area next to the old school building.
This newer building is used as the City Hall. The lawn was beautifully mowed and there are a couple of nice benches out front.
This new city hall appears to be an upgrade from the older brick building. It's a unique building that could be re-purposed, I'd imagine.
Far West Mexican Restaurant occupies a nice space in town. You can check out their Facebook page to learn more about this establishment. Based on the menu and some of the pictures, it's definitely some place I'll need to stop back at.
I'm not sure what these industrial type buildings are presently being used for, but they are located near the highway.
This lovely brick building is home to the United Methodist Church.
I also spotted another old beautiful church building. They certainly do not build churches like they used to.
Like most places in rural Iowa, agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy. There are a few larger agricultural retail and storage buildings along the highway. This business appears to be called Highway 169 Ag Services.
The Whistle Stop convenience store is along the highway. According to their Facebook post, they just celebrated their 10 year anniversary.
You can also rent units for storage at this particular building.
In another area of town, I found Stonehocker Trees and Shrubs, a nursery-type business. You can check out their nice Facebook page.
I found a nice city park on the far west edge of town. There looks to be quite a few amenities for the residents and visitors to enjoy.
The town is home to a wide range of homes of varying size and condition.
This beautiful old house really caught my eye.
There is a small multi-building apartment complex in town.
These homes are along streets that are mostly gravel and lined with mature old trees.
However, beside the state highway, there are a few hard surface roads too.
From Lorimor, you are only 10 minutes away from another nice spot that Iowa Adventurer visited in 2018: Mount Pisgah Park. It's a beautiful spot not too far off the highway and it's an important part of our state's Mormon Trail legacy. If you'd like to read more about this town on the divide, I found this narrative from about 10 years ago to be pretty interesting. I'll look forward to stopping back again the next time I'm in the area. Perhaps, there is basket of chips and salsa awaiting me at the Far West?
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Union 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.