Along the banks of the mighty Big Sioux River, just north of Chatsworth, is a small roadside landmark commemorating the humble beginnings of Sioux County, Iowa. With more than 35,000 residents today, the original population of the county was just 15.
The county is named after the Sioux Indian tribe and the original site was known as Caliope. Today, Caliope does not exist and the courthouse is in Orange City. A few years after the founding in 1860, a wave of Dutch immigrants arrived and thus changed the entire future and fabric of the area.
The Sioux County website has a terrific history that is relatively brief but very much worth reading. There are some intriguing tidbits in there. The narrative about the rivalry between Caliope and Orange City is pretty interesting and something I was unaware of. Today, there is still a rivalry in the county but that is mostly between Sioux Center and Orange City.
Located along Highway 12, the monument includes a small park-like setting that has a driveway and some room for a car or two to pull off the road.
They do not want trucks to utilize it, though, apparently.
The site is right along the Big Sioux River and though it is pretty frozen over right now, you can see a pretty nice view of it all. Since the Big Sioux makes up part of our state's border, the land across the river is actually South Dakota.
There's a large boulder with a plaque attached. It is a little difficult to read, but provides a quick history for those stopping to check it out.
Incidentally, one of the founders is Frederick M. Hubbell, a great grandfather of Fred Hubbell. Fred Hubbell was the Democratic nominee for Iowa governor in 2018. Somewhat ironically, the county that Hubbell did the worst in?
Current governor Kim Reynolds absolutely crushed him there.
A few miles to the south is the community of Chatsworth, with a population of about 80 people. Chatsworth has seen better days, but I did enjoy taking a few minutes to drive around and explore.
There's not a lot of commerce happening within the community these days, but there is a railroad that runs along the highway.
I did find a nice city park that has some amenities for youngsters as well as a nice looking picnic shelter.
There is single spot where the mail is delivered. It looks like something you would see at a townhouse development or apartment complex.
Some of the buildings and homes looked a little tough.
Though there are a number of different homes of varying size.
On the east side of town is a nice one-room school house building. It looked as though it might be used as someone's home now.
I did find one modern garage or machine shed and I'm not sure if it's someone business or just a private garage/storage building. However, it was very nice and there was some activity happening around there.
My visit to Chatsworth and to the county founding monument was brief but it was a nice pitstop between my lunch in Akron and my later afternoon stops in Lyon County. If you are in the area, stop by the monument. If nothing else, I think you'll be treated to a great view of the Big Sioux River.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Sioux 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 my website.