Fun with flags: ride to Brooklyn, Iowa

by on July 29, 2012
in Iowa Rides

What a crazy summer! We had a very short break in the heat recently, then back up into the upper 90’s and low hundreds for a couple more weeks – yikes!! Now here we are at the end of July already – but, thankfully I have three days off from work and temps are only going to be low 90’s so I’m going riding! Hopefully I will have a few more adventures to share soon!

Did have one lovely ride back in early July, what a neat day this was! I’d heard about this small town called Brooklyn that has a large display of flags from all 50 states and several other nations. I thought it sounded like a perfect reason to ride, so off we went. Our group consisted of Steve and I, Garry, street-rodding-turned-biker-pal Dave R., and Howard and Jayka.

We took off in the afternoon heading east along one of my favorite roads – it starts out as Broadway Ave. in Des Moines, becomes 8th St. SE in Altoona, then morphs into County Road F48 and finally old Highway 6. This is just a beautiful road – pretty and curvaceous between Des Moines and Grinnell, then a straight bit east from Grinnell to Highway 63, where we made a right turn into Brooklyn.

Once in Brooklyn we stopped at a tiny convenience store that seemed to be the hub of Sunday activity in this town of just under 1,400 people. After a beverage I walked from the store up to the flag display, which was on the adjacent property. It includes 3×5 flags from every state, plus several special-interest (military service) flags and a 20 x 38-foot US flag at the center on an 80-foot pole, all installed along a pretty walkway next to the Brooklyn Historical Society Museum.

Gave me vertigo standing under the US flag, looking up… thought I was gonna fall over backwards!

Here are some of the state flags on display. This photo looks back toward the street.

Also thought this was neat, something I’d never seen before: the name of the street actually etched into the cement of the curb. Neat detail!

The international flags are displayed in smaller groups along the two main streets of town. You can barely glimpse a few of them on the left side of this streetscene.

Across from the convenience store stands this old Standard Oil station – looks to be about mid-1930’s to me. As I walked over to it to take a picture, a guy drove up in a ’50 Chevy. What a great photo opp! I flagged him down and asked him to pause for a picture – he told me he had just bought the car that day. I took a neat photo of his 50’s car in front of the 30’s gas station, then gave it a little ‘retro’ effect in my photo editing program to create a cool vintagey snapshot.

Here are a couple more pictures of the gas station – just because I know you love this stuff as much as I do!

Brooklyn also has several oldie-but-goodie buildings along its two main streets. This opera house…

… and my favorite, the First National Bank.

All of this exploration only took us about an hour, so it seemed in no time we were back on the bikes and headed home along the same route we’d come in. Along the route I noticed two bridges named for Civil War generals James Wilson & James Weaver, and in looking them up I learned that old Highway 6 (which runs coast-to-coast, by the way) is also known as Grand Army of the Republic Highway. I’ve long been aware that the GAR is/was the veterans organization serving Civil War Veterans, but I didn’t realize that Highway 6 was named for it. There are several commemorative markers and named bridges along the route.

Few things are better in my book – a perfect blue sky day for a ride along scenic Iowa roads, a stop in a pretty small town with a unique or interesting feature, and a little bit of history thrown in for good measure.

More adventures coming soon!

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4 Responses to “Fun with flags: ride to Brooklyn, Iowa”
  1. Trobairitz says:

    Glad you had a bit of a break in your weather and some time off to ride. That flag display looks really neat. I am glad someone took the time to create it.

    Awesome that the 50’s car came by as you were taking a pic of the gas station. Great effects you put on it too.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tim says:

    Well Janet, once again you’ve found some neat things in a small town that most people would miss because they are too big a hurry to notice. I quite often admire the upper parts of old buildings and you see craftsmanship that just doesn’t seem to exist anymore in this high paced world. Really liked the old Chevy and the station as well. Hate to say it, but I was around when that car was brand new…dates me a bit, doesn’t it. Great article and glad you folks had a fun ride that day!

  3. Pam says:

    Wonderful pictures. Love the detail of the street name in the curb too!

  4. Seven Over says:

    Once again Corn Dog, wonderful write up on your adventure!!! Love the pictures of the flag display and the detail in the buildings. This is one trip Karlos and I are going to have to make this summer … and we are going to ride the same route you took!

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