This welcome sign directing traffic to the Buena Vista town of Albert City highlights its Swedish heritage with the slogan, How Swede It Is! When the community was established in 1890, it was initially named Manthrop, after a town in Sweden. The U.S. Postal Service was concerned about potential confusion between Manthrop and nearby Marathon, so the name was changed to Albert City, after Albertina Anderson, the wife of the town’s founder.
In June 2004, Buena Vista County became the first county in the nation to honor veterans by placing a Blue Star Memorial Marker in every town in the county. Each sits within a community garden, including the above marker photographed in downtown Linn Grove. The Blue Star Memorial program is administered by the National Garden Clubs organization to honor all men and women who serve or have served in the armed services of the United States.
According to the WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa, pioneer Luther H. Barnes dreamed of a great city growing on the banks of the Little Sioux River in northwest Iowa. He platted Sioux Rapids in 1858 but the “community failed to thrive” and Barnes left “heart-broken and impoverished.” He may just have been a few years ahead of his time: eleven years later, D.C. Thomas and David Evans replatted the town, residents settled, and postal service was established by 1870. Sioux Rapids is now home to 720 people.
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.
In 1995, the Buena Vista County of Linn Grove authorized construction of a new building to house the community center, city hall, fire station, and library. The library, which dates to 1923, has been in the space since April 1996. The library’s first permanent location was in the back of a local general store.