From Des Moines up to Geneseo, IL…

September 25, 2009

After leaving Omaha in the evening, we drove east to Des Moines, and hitched our horse up there for the night. The weather was a little spitty in the AM, but we drove up to Ames, and had a nice brunch at the Grove Cafe on Main Street there. Chief distinguishing dish of the Grove is a dish-size fat pancake that is a meal in itself (though we shared one). We then walked around town a bit, then drove around the Iowa State campus. An obscure factoid about Iowa: Onawa, Iowa is the home of Eskimo Pies! 😉

Driving east from the area along Hwy 6, we came to Grinnell, alma mater of my old friend Bob Noyce, witness the Robert N. Noyce Science Center at Grinnell:

The Robert N. Noyce Science Center at Grinnell

The Robert N. Noyce Science Center at Grinnell

Bob Noyce grew up in Grinnell and graduated from Grinnell College in 1949 with his bachelor’s degree, later went on to invent the integrated circuit, found Intel, and so forth. He died of a heart attack in 1990. For me it was nostalgic to think that this magnificent edifice was built to honor a guy who once picked me up at my house and drove me to SFO so we could go to a business meeting in Boston together. Sigh… You can see more photos of Grinnell houses and such in our daily gallery. (click to go there)
P1040853Going further east on Hwy 6, we briefly visited the Amana Colonies. Settled in the 1850s on 26,000 acres along the Iowa River by members of a religious sect mostly from Germany, the Amana Colonies are seven quaint and closely united villages: Amana, East Amana, High Amana, Homestead, Middle Amana, South Amana and West Amana. The people lived communally until 1932, when they voted to end the communal way of life. At that time the Amana Church Society was organized to continue the religious aspect of the community, and the Amana Society was organized along corporate lines to handle business affairs.
The first houses were large but without kitchens, as the meals were prepared and eaten in community kitchen houses. Although they no longer use this system, the cooking still reflects their German heritage. It also reminds me that we take from the past in creating for the future. I believe that there are model communities now being built that are somewhat based on this past model and of course communal living goes on in many ways. Amana is of course known as a manufacturer and marketer of kitchen appliances (starting from the idea of a beverage cooler), as well as handmade furniture, woolens and even a couple of wineries.
Interestingly, although of course we’ve all heard of the “Amana” brand name for home appliances, I had only heard of the colonies through frequent encounters of the word in crossword puzzles. It was a completely new discovery for Jane, one of the delightful aspects of this nomadic lifestyle we’re currently enjoying. We drove past an Amana appliance factory, now owned by Whirlpool, we’re told:
An Amana appliance plant, now owned by Whirlpool
An Amana appliance plant, now owned by Whirlpool
Jane and I stopped and shopped a bit at High Amana and drove through Amana itself, being under a little time pressure to get on up to Geneseo, IL, in time for a dinner engagement with friends. But the place is definitely worth a longer visit, an interesting side trip.
It was a great pleasure to end the day with good friends Gail and Steve at a nice restaurant in Geneseo:
Dinner with good friends in Geneseo

Dinner with good friends in Geneseo

So that about brings the blog up-to-date until today (my birthday), which we spent in Springfield, getting to know Mr. Lincoln a lot better. Good stuff coming…


2 Responses to “From Des Moines up to Geneseo, IL…”

  1. Then, you can get out and enjoy the sun at any of the beautiful golf courses. Household Appliance

  2. Rebecca said

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN! Hope you had a wonderful celebration. The blog is great and we are really enjoying your travels and photos. Best to you and Jane. Rebecca

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