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Daydreaming on Main Street in Struble, Iowa

Daydreaming on Main Street in Struble, Iowa

Struble, Iowa is in Plymouth County, about thirty miles northeast of Sioux City, and not far from another place we recently visited, the similarly-named Ruble, Iowa.

Struble, Iowa

According to the 2010 Census, Struble is a town of 78 residents, down from an all-time high of 327 in 1910. I was fooling around on Google Earth One day when I stumbled upon Struble, and we decided to visit so we could photograph the abandoned buildings in town. In April of 2016, we found ourselves daydreaming on Main Street in Struble, Iowa, photographing two old banks which stand side-by-side.

Struble, Iowa

The Bank of Struble, built in 1917, stands right next to the former Farmers Savings Bank. It’s pretty unusual for two banks to stand right next to each other. In the years we’ve been exploring little places like Struble, this is the first time we’ve ever encountered this arrangement. If someone knows the story of these two banks, we’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Struble, Iowa

This town has been the subject of some press coverage in recent years, spotlighted in 2008 by AP writer Magdalene Biesanz in a story about Struble resident David Hawkins’ massive collection of John Deere tractors, and again in 2011 in a story about Joe and Marilynn Vollmecke, dedicated public servants who gave generously of their time to keep this tiny city in good municipal shape.

Struble, Iowa

Struble, Iowa

Directly east of the Farmers Savings Bank, a new structure is going up. We were pretty happy to see it, since most of the time, they’re tearing buildings down in little communities like this, not putting them up. It seems to be a good sign for a community that reached an all-time low population of 59 in 1970.  There were a few gentlemen working on the structure next to the bank, and we would have loved to talk to them and learn a little about Struble, but they were hoisting beams into place and we were reluctant to interrupt their work.

Struble, Iowa

On the west edge of town is the amazing St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, which celebrated its centennial back in 2003.

Struble, Iowa

Struble, Iowa

The first part of the marker inscription reads: “Our Lady of Fatima statue was erected in 1958 in Memory of Barbara and James Groetken who died December 12th, 1957 in a truck-car-school bus accident south of Struble on their way to Gehlen Catholic Schools in Le Mars.”

The second part of the inscription on the marker reads: “This marker was dedicated August 10th, 2003 at the parish centennial celebration in memory of all the children of St. Joseph’s Struble and St. Mary’s Maurice who died in their youth.”

Struble, Iowa

Struble, Iowa

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Ghost Town on Broken Kettle Creek

Ghost Town on Broken Kettle Creek

In Plymouth County, about twenty miles north of Sioux City, stands Ruble, Iowa, a tiny dot on the map near Broken Kettle Creek.

Ruble, Iowa

Ruble was founded in 1900, and was never really more than a roadside pit stop, with the store serving weary travelers and regional residents under the leadership of H.C. Marbach. The small one-room country school served area students in the early days until a larger school was built on a different site.

Ruble, Iowa

The store once had a hitchin’ post for horses, and later, gas pumps. The store also served as the post office for Ruble, but only for six years, from 1900 to 1906.

Ruble, Iowa

Ruble, Iowa

Ruble, Iowa

There is a nicely maintained home that stands between the old school and the store, but either nobody lives there anymore, or they just weren’t home when we were there.

There is an underground storm shelter next to the school which would have served as protection from the powerful twisters that pass through this part of the Great Plains.

Ruble, Iowa

Inside the storm shelter. Hopefully tornadoes scare you more than spiders.

Ruble, Iowa

Inside the schoolhouse. The roof is porous, and this school needs a renovation to save it.

Ruble, Iowa

Ruble, Iowa

There is a short local history and some vintage views of Ruble, Iowa on IowaGenWeb.

Ruble, Iowa

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Historic Rock River Crossing

Historic Rock River Crossing

Anderson Bridge was built across the Rock River in 1900, on the northwest edge of Doon, Iowa.

About thirty miles southeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Doon is a town of 577 people, and the hometown of western novelist Frederick Manfred, who published 22 novels between 1944 and 1992.

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

Anderson Bridge is a riveted Pratt Through Truss bridge, and it was open to traffic at the time of our visit in 2016. It actually looked like it was in pretty good condition compared to many of the old automobile bridges we’ve photographed.

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

The Rock River lives up to its namesake with large boulders and rock formations jutting from the riverbed in various places.

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

This Rock River crossing is a beautiful setting.

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

Like old bridges? Check out Klondike Bridge.

Anderson Bridge, Doon, Iowa

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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The Rusting and Abandoned Klondike Bridge

The Rusting and Abandoned Klondike Bridge

This is Klondike Bridge near Larchwood, Iowa. A bridge was first built at this spot in 1901, but it proved inadequate to handle the traffic that followed, so in 1913, Lyon County contracted Western Bridge and Construction Company of Omaha to build the Klondike. The bridge was constructed in 1914 and opened for full-use in January of 1915. It is closed to all but recreational traffic today, but it carried interstate traffic across the Big Sioux River between South Dakota and Iowa until 1977, when a new bridge was constructed to the north.

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