Just north of the city of Cherokee on Highway 59, amongst the rolling hills of Cherokee County, is Larrabee. With a population of around 130 people, it was named after our thirteenth governor, William Larrabee, a man who served just one-term in office (much fewer years than his fellow mustachioed chief executive... Governor Terry Branstad).
For years, I've traveled through Larrabee either on my way to my parents' family farm in O'Brien County or on my way back to central Iowa. However, I'd never really veered off the highway to see the whole town until my most recent trip through. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that - but I think there are a lot of people who are guilty of the same thing.
It's definitely a small farming community. The landscape is dominated by a large grain elevator along the highway.
I spotted a sign right off the highway pointing me to the east to Juke Joint Grille. They claim to be "your new favorite dive bar and grille".
I love the vibrant colors and the fact that they are now occupying an old service station.
This absolutely looks like the kind of place that I would normally stop at and so I'll be sure to make it a point to stop sometime when I'm passing through again.
I am glad to see Larrabee has bar and restaurant where the community can gather. I hope they continue to support it. These types of places are often the life blood of the community.
I found a beautiful old Methodist Church building though there is a big tree in the front of it that is blocking the sign. They may need to do some trimming.
There is another house in town that may also now be utilized as a house of worship. A brand new ramp has clearly been added to the outside.
There is a small downtown area with several buildings that are in various stages of use and condition.
This building is the post office.
There is also a community center and a fire station.
CML telephone company is one of the most successful cooperative telephone companies in the state. My parents are customers of this particular cooperative and CML has a building exactly like this one in Archer as well.
I found a nice city park with a few different amenities.
This small concrete marker, bearing the name of the town, is located in the park. I don't know if it has any further significance but I found it to be neat.
Residents here live in single family dwellings and I found a number of nice homes.
This farm is right across from the elevator. I don't know if it is technically in the city limits but it definitely fits with the "where town and country unite" slogan.
Larrabee has a water tower on the east side of town.
There is also a gas pump (a nice thing for a town to have) and a small engine repair business on the north side of town. I remember several years ago when the building (now housing the repair shop) was built and it was originally a produce market, if I recall.
Elsewhere, I found a recycling trailer and a dumpster for the glass.
We all have towns or communities that we drive through regularly but have rarely if ever gotten off the beaten path. Larrabee was one of those for me. I'm glad I did and now I know that I need to get back soon to check out the Juke Joint. Not to mention, there's a lot more to see and do in Cherokee County and so I'll hope to be back again to see and do more.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Cherokee 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.