Page County is one of the counties that borders Missouri and while many Iowans might have heard of Clarinda or Shenandoah, there are several other smaller communities dotting its landscape too. Four of those communities are College Springs, Northboro, Shambaugh, and Yorktown and all four are toward the southern end of the county - thus they are "lower on the Page". However, I wouldn't put any of them at the "bottom" of the Page because they all have their own unique history, character, and charm.
A few weeks ago, I adventured on down to Page County to enjoy the Buzzard Day Festival in Coin. I also stopped in Blanchard, a town that is half in Missouri and half in Iowa. While in the area, I also stopped in Villisca to drive around the town a little and visit their world famous "Ax Murder House". On my way home, I also stopped at the Johnny Carson birthplace home, enjoyed the beautiful Corning Main Street, and enjoyed a delicious meal at the steakhouse in Carbon.
At about 85 people as of the last census, Yorktown is a quaint community. Like a lot of towns in Iowa, it traces it's creation to the expansion of the railroads. I enjoyed this "welcome" sign because not only am I a ten year 4-H member alum, I also am presently on the Board of Trustees for the Iowa 4-H Foundation. I spotted a few unique things in town.
They have a small city hall and post office. There is a nice deck with ramps on one side so am wondering if it doubles as a bit of a community center as well?
Located on the main road through town is this flag pole that has a small fence around it. If you aren't paying attention, you could drive right into it!
On the edge of town is a gorgeous old brick Lutheran School building. It does not appear to be in use right now but it certainly looks well built.
There's a small park with some playground equipment that can be utilized by children. I also found steps that would lead you to an old bell that presumably was once part of an old church or school.
For good measure, I also found a small pasture that had a calf and a pot belly pig roaming around.
At just under 200 people, Shambaugh is another town founded by the railroad. They have a couple of churches and a business, The Gate Shop, that manufactures livestock panels, among other things. I appreciate the slogan of "Small town, big heart."
The church buildings are very nice. In rural Iowa, it is the churches that do a great job keeping things close knit.
There is a nice park and a nice wetlands area right off the highway. It's quite picturesque.
I don't know how many people work at the gate manufacturer, but it looks to be a nice small business.
In the downtown area, I found a post office and another building that appears to be a combination of a city hall and emergency services garage.
As I was heading out of town, I spotted a man on a recreational vehicle. Of course, in true small-town Iowa fashion, he waved at me.
College Springs, Iowa
College Springs is perhaps the largest of these four towns I stopped in. It has a population of just over 200 and it is home to the South Page Community School District. According to my brief online research, it got its name from the fact that it was once home to Amity College and there is a nearby natural spring. The website "Lost Colleges" has some brief history on Amity College if you are into that kind of thing. College Springs was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.
There is a beautiful old cemetery on the edge of town.
I spotted an absolutely stunning church building. They certainly do not build buildings like this anymore (well, at least, not cheaply anyway).
There is a post office down town and another building that appears to be both a cafe and a city hall of sorts.
I found a couple of nice structures as part of a park.
The town has a tall but skinny water tower.
There's the large school building and other structures on the grounds, too. I also found the fields where the "Rebels" compete.
Not far from Coin where I visited the Buzzard Day Festival is the community of Northboro. There are a few more than 50 people in the community.
Near where this sign is located is an absolutely beautiful home.
I also spotted a neat old United Methodist church building.
Elsewhere in town, there are several buildings that appear to be in varying stages of use and shape.
I found a brown metal building that seems to be utilized as their community center.
It is not uncommon, especially, in smaller communities, for the town roads not to be paved. It's not cheap to pave roads these days.
I'm glad it was not muddy when I decided to adventure on down this low maintenance road on the edge of town.
Lastly, I did find a ball diamond (though much of it has grassed over) and some playground equipment in a park area.
What did I miss from these four communities? Next time you are out and about heading to a destination somewhere in Iowa, leave a few minutes early and hit up a couple nearby small towns. You'll be glad that you did.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Page County or any of the other 98 counties. If you would wish to host the Iowa Adventurer or have a good idea, please drop me a note through my website.