A storybook stop in Kimballton, one of Iowa's Danish Villages

February 13, 2018

Kimballton in Audubon County and nearby Elk Horn in Shelby County are the two largest rural Danish settlements in the United States. Despite being relatively small communities (Kimballton with about 325 residents and Elk Horn with with about 665), they are doing a fantastic job embracing that heritage and bringing others to the communities to enjoy it too.

 

On a recent Saturday, after having lunch in Hamlin at Darrell's Place and visiting Iowa's Super Bull (Albert) in Audubon, I ventured over to Kimballton to see their Little Mermaid Park and the rest of the town, too.

 

Since I am working to get a #CitySignSelfie in every community, Kimballton does a great job immediately advertising the fact that they have a replica of the famous Little Mermaid statue that is a hot tourist destination in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Danish flag flies right along side the Stars and Stripes.

Since the town is pretty small in size, it was not difficult to find The Little Mermaid Park and Sculpture Garden.

It can be argued that Hans Christian Andersen is the most famous Danish author to ever live and his stories and fairy tales are staples of many childhoods. This park does a good job paying tribute to those many fairy tales through sculptures that have been completed in recent years. These statues surround the replica of the Little Mermaid, which is the focal point.

 

 

The statues of some of these famous fairy tales are quite beautiful. They are not overly large, but the detail is quite exquisite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of these statues has a small green sign that gives instructions on how you can listen to an aspect of the story. Kudos to the organizers of this effort for adding this great interactive element.

There is a sign in the park that also highlights the generous donors and supporters who helped make all of this happen.

But it's not just The Little Mermaid and other statues in this particular park - there's also Audubon County's Freedom Rock, too. Incidentally, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen, the painter of the original Freedom Rock near Greenfield and the subsequent painter of rocks in all 98 other counties, recently announced he is running for the Iowa Legislature.

 

 

Elsewhere in the park, there is a picnic shelter and playground equipment. It's a really nice park and I would imagine a nice place to enjoy the warmer weather, once it finally shows up again.

 

I drove around the town a little after stopping in the park. There are a lot of other towns of 325 people that do not have as much going on as Kimballton has going on. 

 

The town has a water tower but it might be one of the shortest ones in the state, at least that I have seen.

Back on the main street through town, I noticed a gorgeous mural on the side of a building that pays tribute to the Danish roots of the area.

There is a beautiful Gazebo.

I spotted a nice looking town hall and had I stayed longer, could have enjoyed a pasta fundraiser that evening.

 

I spotted a church in town and it has a steeple that towers over much of the community.

Here are a few other shots of buildings in the community. 

 

 

 

 

I spotted a couple of different art studios in town, which is not something you usually see in a town of this size.

 

 

 

 

I hope to come back to town sometime when it isn't so dreary and the statue park is a little more alive with color and water.

There's a lot to enjoy in the Danish Villages of Iowa.

As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile, whether in Audubon County or one of the other 98 counties in Iowa. You can drop me a note through my website if you have a good idea. Also, be sure to like Iowa Adventurer on Facebook to follow along on future adventures.

 

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