Monday, May 16, 2011

Beauty of Western Iowa Part one

5-16-11 GUEST Blog
I would call myself a road warrior as I love to get in my sweet ride or shopping mobile and hit the roads whenever possible. When I see an interesting sign, I do my best to stop and take in the sights. With that said, over the last 13 years, while traveling to and from Sioux City for work, I’ve seen the same signs and for no good reason other than “I don’t have the time”, I have not stopped. Well that changed last fall with two road trips. I’ll start with I-80 West and the towns of Elk Horn and Kimballton.  
Have you seen the sign on I-80 West for the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn? I must have passed it over 200 times over the years and never stopping.  With my recent ’10 travel to Copenhagen, I wanted to stop and see what this mill was all about. Geez, what a history, built in Denmark in 1948, the city purchased it in 1976 and shortly after that, a law was passed so that authentic Danish windmills could not be taken out of the country. And unlike mills for water or energy, this mill was used to grind grain. Read more about the windmill here.

Near the Windmill, I saw this unusual contraption and what … wait a minute … a charging station? Yes, the town of Elk Horn with 650 people is the home of four electric charging stations, built by and mainly used by the owner/operator. On further research, Elk Horn has been cited for this achievement. Read more about the town and its many accolades here

While in town, we stopped by the Danish Immigrant Museum built in 1983. Among telling the history of the people of Denmark, it hosts the largest Danish gift shop in America.  This is quite a Museum and a must see. On the grounds of the Museum there is the cutest chapel, Morningstar Chapel. It might be the world’s smallest working chapel, 6’ by 8’ chapel contains a pulpit, an altar, and four small pews. Take a look at it here, built in Waterloo, Iowa.

While I was there, the guide asked us “have you seen the Little Mermaid”? Oh my, I traveled thousands of miles to see the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen and here, 80 miles from my home is a replica of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. Here’s a link to the Copenhagen’s mermaid.

After seeing the town of Elk Horn and Kimballton, I’m truly appreciative of the Danish settlers and their courage to trek across the pond and one-half of the United States to settle in Iowa. When you have time, check out the life stories of some of them here.

Chat Later,
That Girl, Ann Marie

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