IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Northeast Iowa Hills
A Picture Guide to Allamakee and Clayton Counties

by Apple Jack

Page 3

Strawberry Point city park

At the intersection of State highways 13 and 3 Strawberry Point has seven service stations, a Chevrolet dealer, hotel, 2 motels, barber shops and beauty shops, a drive-in lunch, 7 cafes, 3 hardware stores, 3 taverns, an antique dealer, 2 grocery stores (supermarket), lumberyard and a doctor. There are three churches—Lutheran, Catholic and Methodist. There is a public phone on the highway.

In the way of recreation Strawberry Point has much to offer. In town there is a small park at the band shell with 7 picnic tables, the band shell (Shelter), swings and a slide, all about a half block off highway 3 just West of the intersection with 13.

The Lutheran Bible camp makes their swimming pool available to the public at certain times. There is a bowling alley and golf course. School tennis courts are available.

Strawberry Point is the largest town near Backbone State Park, just out of Clayton County to the South West. At Backbone Park the best of camping, swimming, and picnicking is available. Strawberry Point offers a good place to get supplies for extended stays in the Park. Population in 1960—1303.

Strawberry Point main street

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Volga City

Volga City Located in Western Clayton County on the Volga River, Volga City has three service stations, four churches, (Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran) a hardware store, 2 grocery stores, a cafe, and barber shop.

The town has two parks, a small one near the school with 2 picnic tables and a larger one out of town on the East side. The latter has 8 tables, a fireplace, swings, and toilets. No water is available in the park proper but possibly can be found nearby. I do not know if camping is permitted in the park. It is a nice little place and if the toilets were in better repair would rate tops.

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In this little railroad crossing town in 1892 John Froelich did for the modern farm tractor what the Wright brothers did for aviation and Ford did for autos. Here was built the first gasoline tractor that would move backward as well as forward. A little park memorializes the fact near the Burlingame General Store. This general store is a little different from most in that gasoline is not sold—but everything else is. There is a picnic table here—no camping facilities though. Spook Cave is nearby.

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Spook Cave

Spook Cave is a privately owned attraction between Monona and McGregor north of Highways 18 and 13. The underground water tour back into the limestone caverns in electric powered boats is the most interesting feature.

The underground boat trip isn’t the only feature here, for the lodge building offers a complete selection of souvenirs, soft drinks, candy and other supplies.

Spook Cave Souvenir shop

Camping is encouraged, with nominal charges, and Spook Cave offers a good central location for side trips to other interesting areas.

Spook Cave picnic area

Years ago this pasture was a favorite picnic spot; now under I expert and understanding management it has become an even more favored area (and still with free picnicking). Spook Cave has been developed the way you like to see—a natural wonder and beauty spot not overly commercialized. The model mill built here is a small replica of typical grist mills of the pioneer days and the little steam train (a more recent addition) is intriguing.

Model mill, a replica grist mill at Spook Cave
Replica of a grist mill at Spook Cave

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The town of Watson "is" the general store. They follow the general plan of rural general stores and sell, gasoline, groceries, beer, soft drinks and in this particular case they remain open until noon on Sunday.

You find Watson on the Pleasant Ridge rock road between Monona and Marquette.

Just North of the general store is the Old Rock Church which is the scene of an annual homecoming.

Old Rock Church at Watson

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National, Clayton co. IA

Amvets Memorial Park - National cemetery in background National is the location of the Clayton County Fairgrounds where the county 4-H fair is held every year in August. This area is used as a picnic and recreational area extensively, a favorite for family reunions and annual barbeques, dairy celebrations, and conservation events. There are about ten picnic tables, water and toilet facilities. Present policy does not allow overnight camping but Spook Cave and Pikes Peak are not too far away.

There is a rest area near the Clayton County Fair grounds on US 52. The picnic table here is the courtesy of the jolly Neighbors Club. The park itself is the Amvets Memorial Park. There are toilets in the adjoining cemetery.

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Millville Millville is spread out along highway 52 where it crosses the Turkey River not too far from its junction with the Mississippi. There is a service station and cafe on the North end and a service station and store on the South end.

The first voting in the territory was conducted in the Millville area in the early eighteen hundreds.

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Turkey River Junction

Just south of Millville you can turn off to the east on a crushed rock road and travel to Turkey River junction. A winding dirt trail through the flood plain takes you to an access area very near to the Wisconsin shore.

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Osborne Traveling south from Elkader on Highway 13, just after you cross Chicken Ridge (one of the highest points in Clayton County) you enter the Volga River valley, and when you cross the river you are in the settlement of Osborne.

There are no facilities for campers or picnicking but you may be interested in the tree planting experiment alongside the highway at this point. A little farther on where the road enters the highway from Mederville you find a rest area with picnic tables and toilets.

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Osterdock is a spot on the Turkey River midway between the Elkport-Garber area and the Point where the Turkey empties into the Mississippi.

The "town" is on both sides of the river. With a general store on the North side and a machine shop (with public phone) on the South side.

This beautifully built rock bridge (below) carries a rock road in the Garber-Osterdock area of Clayton County.

old rock bridge

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St. Sebald The St. Sebald Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in 1853. In its original parsonage-church the Evangelical Synod of Iowa was founded August 24, 1854.

Two miles Southwest of here the old Wartburg Seminary was located and operated from 1857 to 1874.

The church is located North of Strawberry Point and South of Volga City on county roads. There are no picnic or camping facilities here.

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Pioneer Church at Ceres

This old Pioneer Church at Ceres was built in 1858 and is on Highway 52 between Garnavillo and Guttenburg. Recreational facilities at this old landmark are maintained by the Ceres Association. There are four picnic tables under roof, kids teeter-totter and slide, fireplace and water is available. They request that your stop be limited to picnicking only.


~source: undated booklet, ca1960's, written by "Apple Jack"
~scanned & transcribed by Errin Wilker.


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