Velkommen to Popejoy, a small town with a big heart in Franklin County

March 26, 2019

I don't know whether Popejoy is a town founded by Norwegian or Danish ancestors, based on it's "Velkommen" welcome sign, but they certainly are one of the more uniquely named towns in our state. 

On a recent Saturday, before meeting up with some family in nearby Iowa Falls, I stopped in the small Franklin County town for a minutes. Despite having a population of just 79 residents as of the 2010 census, they proclaim themselves to have a "big heart". 

 

I certainly love a town with a sense of humor via their signage. "Popejoy Next 3 Exits". 

Some of the houses in town have certainly seen better days, though I did find some nicer single-family residences, too.

 

 

 

 

 

There's an old school building that is not used as a school anymore but I'm not sure if it has another purpose these days

This is not a permanent pond in town - it is just the unfortunate result of too much water. On the blacktop going through town, I spotted a small monument to the Popejoy Methodist Church bell that also included some memorial benches, a sign about the school, and an American flag. It was next to the town's mailbox system, which is like something you would see in a an apartment or town home complex in a larger city.

 

 

 

About a block away is an old church building. I don't know if this was the Methodist Church or if it was a different church. That said, it now appears to either be used as someone's residence or as someone's storage building.

 

There is a Main Street area of town, but I am not sure there are any existing businesses occupying the buildings. However, there are a couple of unique buildings from a historical and architectural perspective.

 

There was a sign on this building that suggests it used to be a cafe, as part of it's no doubt multi-use history.

One side of the street had mostly all been painted white. One of the buildings, with the ramp, is the town's city hall. 

There was a tanker trailer and a combine corn head also parked in the downtown area.

 

I spotted several other buildings around town that were of varying use and condition, including a "senior center".

There's also a garage that I am guessing might be used by the county or city for maintenance purposes as there are a couple of snow plows out front. Hopefully we are done with those for the year!

There's an old garage building on the blacktop through town that still has a sign advertising cigarettes and diesel fuel. 

 

Though that building appears to no longer be in operation, I did find a gas pump on the east side of town. I did not need to fill up, but I presume it is operational.

 

I found a small city park with a few playground equipment options. It will be nice when the last of the snow finally melts away.

I found a couple other unique things that caught my eye, including a pretty lawn ornament in someone's yard, a pile of stumps, and a tilted and faded "children at play" sign that was not near the park or the old school.

 

 

Like a lot of small towns in Iowa, Popejoy ended up on the map because of expansion of the railroads. Though it was platted in 1880, it was not officially incorporated until 1908, nearly three decades later. Interestingly, it was originally named Carleton but the name was changed to Popejoy. I am curious as to why. Please feel free to drop me a note if you can shed light on that. 

 

At any rate, I enjoyed exploring the community for a few minutes and know there is a lot more to see and do in the area. I'll make it a goal to get back again soon.

 

In the meantime, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Franklin 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 website. 

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