From the Vault: Independence, Iowa

Update: I went back and checked out Independence in July of 2021. See photos of the Mental Health Institution from that trip here. I also revisited First Street East, which you can see here. In the far distance in the picture above, you can see the Wapsipinicon Mill, which I also visited in July of 2021.

Continuing with my excursus of the fascinating and beautiful towns of northeastern Iowa, I dug deep into the St. Louis Patina vaults and found some photos I took of several other towns far from any interstates in September of 2011. First up is Independence, which sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and 150. There were street improvements going on; many Iowa towns are understanding the importance of having walkable, urban downtowns.

There is a beautiful Roman Catholic church, which in this case is St. John’s. As I’ve explained before, in Medieval Europe, bell towers were frequently completed generations apart, so they were often asymmetrical (much to the consternation of Renaissance theorist and architect Leon Battista Alberti), and American architects sought to recreate that picturesque element in new churches like the Gothic Revival.

It is a very beautiful church, and one that could fit in with others in North St. Louis.

Interestingly, the two railroad stations that served the town were actually moved to their current locations; they are the Chicago Rock Island Depot and the Illinois Central Depot. I am glad they were saved, as they are really great examples of the influence of Chicago architecture out in its railroad “empire.”

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