The unincorporated community of Selma is located four miles south of Eldon in Van Buren County in southeastern Iowa. It was established in 1851, though the first home in the area now known as Selma was constructed in 1835, before settlers could legally be there. After a series of names, including Independent, Stumptown and Hickory, before Selma was officially designated as the town name in 1882. Their red, white and blue town sign highlights the town’s zip code, which remains even though the post office location was discontinued in 1995.
When the Buena Vista County Sesquicentennial committee came to Marathon residents Lois and LeRoy Lind in 1994 for suggestions, LeRoy shared his vision to hold a sanctioned marathon to the town of Marathon. Along with other committee members, LeRoy researched several marathons and worked to get the 26.2 mile route from Storm Lake to Marathon officially sanctioned. LeRoy passed away in January 1996, but his efforts proved successful as the first Marathon to Marathon event was held that summer.
The tradition continues, with the 16th annual Marathon to Marathon slated for June 16, 2011. For more information on the festivities, which include food, entertainment, and a 5K walk/run, check out the official event website.
The tiny town of Delphos in Ringgold County, Iowa, was founded in 1880 as a rail station on the Leon, Mount Ayr and Southwestern line. Originally settled as Borneo, the town’s permanent name was derived from the greek word adelphos, meaning brother. Population peaked at 128 in the 1899 census, more than 20 years before the town was officially incorporated.
Railroad service operated in Delphos for 65 years, with the last train passing through in 1945. Following the loss of rail service, the consolidated school closed in 1961, and the post office served its final customer in November 1993. More recently, the former Christian Church was converted to a private residence, while the remaining Baptist Church building hasn’t held regular services for years.
A modest wooden sign on the north side of East Peru in Madison County, Iowa, marks the city’s discovery of the famous apple variety in 1892, five years after the community was founded. At the time, Louisiana-based Stark Nurseries held a contest to replace the “Ben Davis” apple, which was declining in nationwide popularity due to its lack of flavor. East Peru-area farmer Jesse Hiatt sent in the winning apple, which he called “Hawkeye.” The nursery bought rights to the apple and began growing it under the “Delicious” moniker.
Now labeled “Red Delicious,” the apple saw many changes over the years, as producers were able to make it firmer and juicer while allowing it to be stored in sealed warehouses for up to 12 months. In the 1980s, the Red Delicious represented nearly three-quarters of apple production in the state of Washington, the United States’ main apple producer. American consumers began to sour on the apple as other varieties gained prominence; by 2003, the Red Delicious apple lost over half its market share.
This well-worn town sign welcomes visitors to the unincorporated community of Knoke, located in the northwest corner of Calhoun County. The sign, erected in 2001 to celebrate the community’s 100-year anniversary, proudly highlights the three town cross-streets, along with the elevation of 1,022 feet above sea level. Knoke’s population dropped from 52 residents in 1955 to 21 in 2001.