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5/1/2024

What are some of Iowa’s most interesting ghost towns?

With the May edition containing our Summer Arts & Entertainment feature, we compiled many of the area’s most exciting, attractive and thrilling events. One of our readers posed this question that might be more suited for the fall version. 

Iowa is home to many ghost towns. Rockville, aptly named, was located on the banks of the Maquoketa River. One of the only things that remains of the town is the stone grist mill. The post office closed in 1898 after a new railroad bypassed the town. 

Stanzel, located by Highway 92 between Adair and Winterset, is considered a ghost town but still has an active church. 

Elkport is the most recent case. The town was abandoned by 2006 after the town was hit by devastating floods in 2004.

Some other towns have also been lost to floods. These were on purpose. Underneath the state’s largest lake, Lake Red Rock, several ghost towns are said to exist. The man-made lake was created in the 1960s to give flood water somewhere to go. The towns of Coalport, Fifield, Rousseau, Cordova, Red Rock and Dunreath were thus flooded. Don’t worry, these towns had already been abandoned by this time, or the active buildings had been moved for preservation. One thing that wasn’t moved? The cemetery. 

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What is the lowest and highest Iowa’s unemployment rate has ever been?

Unemployment rates are continually rising and falling. But, in Iowa, what was the lowest it ever fell, and the highest it ever rose? 

According to statistics from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), the lowest unemployment rate Iowa has had was 2.5%, which was achieved in multiple months. Most recently, it happened in March and April of 2022.

The highest is 11%. Understandably, this was in April 2020 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on jobs.

Iowa’s annual average unemployment rate had been on a steady fall in the years before the pandemic. The unemployment rate fell every year from 2011 (5.6%) to 2019 (2.7%), before it ballooned to 5.2%. Since then, the state is closest to pre-pandemic numbers. The state, as a whole, sits at 2.9%, down from 3% in January. These numbers are better than the U.S unemployment rate, which sits at 3.9%. 

In Polk County, the most recent unemployment rate report available from IWD, has its unemployment rate at 3.2%. The highest unemployment rate of any county in Iowa at the moment is Marshall County at 9.8% as of February. n

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Summer Stir - June 2024