Experience 5 Small Towns
The city of Dexter was founded in 1868 and is named after the famous New York racehorse whose image was popular at the time. The city has been proclaimed by the New York Times as the “Original One Horse Town”.
Roundhouse Community Center
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this unique elliptical engineering feat was built in the 1916 and was once home to a basketball court. It currently serves as a community center.
Bonnie & Clyde Shootout Site
Check out the location of the former Dexfield Park where the infamous Bloody Barrow Gang fought against the local possee in 1933. Look for an informational granite marker just north of town on the Dexfield Road.
See historical city artifacts including documentation of President Harry Truman’s visit to the National Plowing Match held in Dexter in 1948, President Taft's visit to the city, and two other famous visitors- Bonnie and Clyde. The museum is open on Sundays 1-3pm May-October.
Before heading out of Dexter, stop off at Drew’s Chocolates for a snack for the road or order candy to be shipped to your friends as a souvenir. In 1927, Helen Drew started a candy-making business from the recipes of relatives in New Hampshire. Today, Drew’s still uses the original recipes and equipment in the same house at 426 State Street. Famous worldwide, Drew’s is the only candy shop in the country that fork dips each delicious piece of chocolate by hand on a daily basis using pure chocolate and the freshest ingredients available. Call 1-800-24-DREWS or 515-789-4540 for directions or more information.
The city of Stuart was founded in 1870 by Civil War veteran Capt. Charles A. Stuart and is probably most famous for being a town of “over 1700 good eggs and a few stinkers” as their city welcome sign proclaims.
Former Rock Island Railroad Depot
Built in 1879 as part of a major train repair complex, the depot is now the town’s last link to its bustling railroad past and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Kerouac became stranded here with a friend on his road trip across the US and wrote about it in the best-selling novel “On the Road”.
Historic All Saints Building
Built in 1908 and partially destroyed by an arsonist in 1995, the former Catholic Church is a rare example of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture in the Midwest. It’s featured on the National Register of Historic Places. The building has been restored as the Saints Center for Culture and the Arts and houses the Learning Museum of Religious Tolerance. To arrange a one-of-a-kind tour, call 515-523-2921 or visit the website.
Bonnie & Clyde Bank Robbery Site
About a year after their Dexfield Park shootout and about a month before they died, Bonnie and Clyde robbed the bank of approximately $2,000. It's no longer a bank but feel free to stop for a photo op.
Visit the stock car quarter-mile race track that served as a location for the making of the 1968 film Fever Heat staring Nick Adams and Jeannine Riley. Check out the summer race schedule here.
Raccoon Ridge Music Hall and Archery Course
Let Gary and Linda Thompson host your next gathering in their events facility nestled in the country north of Stuart or attend one of their many dances. And if music isn’t your thing, you can hike the nearby trails, camp or test your aim on their 3-D archery course. More information can be found on their website.
Nations Bridge Park
This Guthrie County park features 81 acres for picnicking, camping, hiking, and fishing and is located just five miles north of Stuart. Call 515-523-1789 for more information on this recreational retreat.
For more information on the town of Stuart, please visit their website.
And if you are looking for a place to stay while visiting the area, be sure to check out our hotel sponsor… the AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Stuart. Reservations can be made at 515-523-9000.
The city of Menlo was founded in 1869 by Iowa’s first millionaire and Des Moines resident, Benjamin Franklin Allen, during the same year he completed his family home Terrace Hill, which has gone on to become the official home of Iowa’s governors. Menlo’s other connection to the governorship is that it was the hometown to Iowa’s Governor George Wilson who served from 1939 to 1943 and who also was a US Senator from 1943 to 1949.
Come be our guest in the other “Menlo Park”. Camping is available and the playground equipment is a pleasant stop for travelers with children.
Friendly Gas Station Man
In 1934, Kalbach Oil Company commissioned the Nebraska Neon Sign Company in Lincoln to build an image of a service station attendant in a blue uniform outlined in neon lights to welcome motorists. It still stands so be sure to drive by and give him a wave.
5x80 Golf and Country Club
Our same five towns along Interstate 80 came together in the mid 1960’s to create a nine-hole golf course along with clubhouse dining, pool and tennis courts. Call 641-524-2345 to reserve your tee time.
Located just south of the Country Club is the 56 ton boulder that serves as Ray “Bubba” Sorensen’s canvas for patriotic images. Bubba paints murals dedicated to war veterans each May and has become a Memorial Day tradition that draws thousands of people to the rock. Click here for more information. *Bubba was named by Redbook Magazine "America's Hottest Husband" in 2010 so now everyone knows just how cool... or hot... he really is!
For more information on the town of Menlo, please visit their website.
The city of Casey was founded in 1868 and was named after the Irish foreman Patrick Casey who had made camp in the area and was in charge of the railroad construction work for the new Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. The author Thomas W. Duncan was born and raised here and was most famous for his “Gus the Great” novel published in 1947 which was later made into a movie.
Casey Visitor Center & Museum
Quilts, memorabilia and family collections are on display in this former Catholic Church. Catch a glimpse of what life was like in this small agricultural community.
A few antique stores still await you along Casey’s charming brick main street. On the west side of the road, check out the Veteran’s Memorial Park built by a Casey youth group that features patriotic murals from Ray “Bubba” Sorensen.
Wagon Trail Ruts
Take McPherson Street north of town to the T intersection and take in the scenic view of a wagon trail long abandoned that runs along the fence line north towards the county seat town of Guthrie Center.
2 ½ miles west and 2 ½ miles south of Casey on county gravel road N72, this rock is 16ft. high, 14ft. wide, 58ft. around and 500,000 pounds!! Get your picture taken by this huge attraction and see how it took 3,000 horsepower for Don and Betty Slayton to move it from a nearby farm field.
The city of Adair was founded in 1872 and was named in honor of General John Adair, an officer in the War of 1812 and the eighth governor of Kentucky. Known for its smiling yellow water tower, the city sits on the highest point on the railroad line and the summit for water to flow into either the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers.
Evolution of Flags Display
Dedicated to the heroes and victims of 9/11, come salute the colorful flags that line the downtown main street. The display features variations of the American Flag; the US Marine, Navy, Air Force, Army and P.O.W Flags; as well as the Flag of Iowa and the commissioned Flag of Adair.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this arched concrete bridge ceremoniously opened to traffic in 1924 and now welcomes visitors to the western entrance to the White Pole Road. The Iowa State Highway Commission designed the regionally important railroad overpass and is a rare example of aesthetic detail for a state agency to commission with its embellished guardrails and flanking towers.
Jesse James Historical Marker
A large steam engine wheel marks the spot just west of town where the infamous Jesse James Gang is believed to have pulled off the world’s first robbery of a moving train on July 21, 1873. The gang learned that $75,000 dollars in gold was to be transported through the area but were soon disappointed to discover the gold shipment was not onboard and they only got away with about $3,000.
And if you've reached the end of our byway in Adair and you're still hungry... stop by Zipp's Pizzaria, 301 Audubon Street. Excellent, hand-crafted pizza and daily specials. Or if a burger sounds better, head over to the Chuckwagon Restaurant at 113 5th Street. In 2016, they were awarded "Iowa's Best Burger".
To explore more of Western Iowa, be sure to visit their website. Your connection to fun!
And if you are REALLY enjoying the drive along our old Highway 6, visit the US Route 6 Tourism Association's website and keep driving and exploring your way across America!