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June 14-16, 2018

The Top of Iowa
and some pictures from the east side as well
The Top of Iowa rest stop in Northwood (Worth County), on I-35, is home to a striking
Freedom Rock War Memorial, one of a series across the state created by Ray "Bubba" Sorenson II.

The memorial is dedicated to women who served their country and singles out Ellen Church, seen above saluting. Front and back views below.
From the artist (via his Facebook page on the nearby Howard County memorial, which also features Church):
"Ellen was interested in aviation and took flying lessons. In 1930, Ellen approached the president of Boeing Air Transport for a position as a pilot. He wouldn’t hire her in that capacity, but did think one of her ideas had merit, that of placing nurses onboard planes in order to help the public feel more comfortable while flying. On May 15th, 1930, Ellen Church became the world’s first stewardess. These women not only saw to the passenger’s needs but also hauled luggage on board, screwed down loose seats, fueled planes, and helped pilots push planes into hangars. For these services, they earned $125 a month. After an automobile accident, Ellen resumed her nursing career. She became a captain in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She earned the Air Medal for her work during numerous evacuation missions."


The memorial was painted in six days by Sorenson, who is "thanking our veterans, one painting at a time." He has a great video here and, I am happy to say, he has a statewide, and indeed a national audience of admirers. He has memorials in 69 of Iowa's 99 counties, and is scheduled to be at work on them through 2021.

Near the memorial there is a good summary of Northern Iowa history

“Northern Iowa landforms result from the
action of 3 separate glacial ice sheets. Clear
Lake, south of here, is one of the many Iowa
lakes formed by glacial action. Pilot Knob, a
glacially formed hill west of here, is one of
the highest points in northern Iowa and was
used as a landmark by early travelers.
  Much of the western two-thirds of Iowa
was prairie when the first settlers arrived.
Pioneers in this area raveled through
grasses 5 to 7 feet tall. Many of them refered
to this experience as “a voyage through an
ocean of grass.” A remnant of this prairie
may be seen at the Hayden Preserve near Lime
Springs, about 50 miles east of here.
  One noteworthy Iowan, born in Creso in 1914,
is Norman Borlaug [d. 2009], recipient of the 1970 Nobel
Peace Prize and many other international
awards for his work in increasing world wheat
production. Another northern Iowan of note is
Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), acclaimed for his
novels of late 19th century Iowa farm life.
Garland wrote over 30 novels, inclding a
Pulitzer Prize winner, A Daugher of the
Middle Border.
  "A tribute to the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America." Sponsored by the Green Thumb Garden Club in cooperation with the Top of Iowa Welcome Center

Eastern Iowa: outside Dubuque, across the river, on to Galena, 5-6 p.m. 6-16-18
Outside Dubuque

Over the river and through the bridge


Between Dubuque and Galena
5.20   5.23

5.24   5.34

5.36   5.37

5.42   5.44

June 18, 2018