, 2022-12-12 12:55:34,
Best town? Boring. Best restaurant? Hackneyed. Best tourist attraction? Nah.
Little Village staff and contributors would like to draw your attention to these truly Iowa-y sites, stories and experiences. Some are recommendations, others cautionary tales, but all make our godforsaken state just a little more amazing. Introducing, the Independent Iowa Awards.
MONUMENTAL SITES 🗿
A Tribute to 12 Black Lawyers
Down the street from the golden dome of the Iowa Capitol sits a 30-foot-tall testament to the defiance, brilliance and legacy of 12 Black lawyers who founded the National Bar Association in Des Moines in 1925. They formed the association after some members were denied admittance to the American Bar Association because of their race.
“The large-scale sculpture embodies the notion of communication among diverse peoples and a legal system that — though not perfect — strives to be balanced,” according to the Des Moines Public Art Foundation.
The Black founders from Iowa include a who’s who in Iowa history: George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, Gertrude E. Rush, James B. Morris and Charles P. Howard, Sr. The base of the sculpture bears the names of all of the founders, although their stories and the sculpture itself aren’t as well-known as they ought to be.
The next time you’re in Des Moines, stop by the sculpture at Hansen Triangle Park, Grand and 2nd Avenues, and marvel at the artistry. Learn more about the Black trailblazers and their quest to make Iowa more equitable. —Dana James
Elwood’s Giant Concrete Gnome
With a stout body, a kind face and a pointy red hat, Elwood is the gnome Reiman Gardens deserves. Standing 15 feet tall (hat included) he’s a good size for the 17-acre gardens on ISU’s campus. He also gives Ames a claim on a world record, as long as that record is carefully defined.
As soon as Elwood was erected in 2010, he became the World’s Tallest Concrete Garden Gnome. “Concrete” is the key word here. Soluś is an 18-foot tall garden gnome in Nowa Sól, Poland, but he’s made of fiberglass. And Guinness World…
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