Welcome to La Porte City!
RAGBRAI returns to La Porte City on July 23, 2015, marking its first visit since 1983. Welcome! Located in the southeast corner of Black Hawk County, La Porte City represents the near mid-point of Day 5 on the 2015 RAGBRAI route that begins in Cedar Falls and ends in Hiawatha. To learn more about La Porte City (Live-Play-Connect), scroll down to view a community summary, a map of the route through La Porte City, a virtual tour video slideshow, featured vendors and activities.
About La Porte City: Live – Play – Connect & RIDE!
La Porte City has a rich heritage dating back to the mid 1800s, when Dr. Jesse Wasson, the city’s founder, bought a large tract of land on the south side of Wolf Creek. Sixteen years after the town was first platted, La Porte City was duly incorporated on February 11, 1871.
Dr. Wasson is a prominent figure in La Porte City’s history. In addition to founding the city in 1855, Wasson was the city’s first Postmaster and second mayor, as well as owner of one of the city’s first newspapers. According to W.L. Fox, it was Dr. Wasson’s ingenuity and force of will that was at least partially responsible for bringing the first state road built between Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids through La Porte City. Legend has it that after befriending the survey crew and discovering their fondness for whiskey, Wasson used strategically placed jugs of the liquor along the route, now known as U.S. Highway 218, to help guide the surveyors into town. One can only imagine how dramatically different the 2015 RAGBRAI route would be without Dr. Wasson’s influence.
Thankfully, when cyclists along this year’s RAGBRAI route make the right turn onto Main Street to enjoy the amenities La Porte City has to offer, they will be greeted by a bronze bust of Dr. Wasson in front of City Hall, sporting, of course, his familiar top hat. One of the first things riders will notice as they roll into the RAGBRAI staging area downtown are the signature brick streets that have been in La Porte City since… perhaps the days of Dr. Wasson.
Downtown La Porte City is home to some of the tastiest treats you can find in Iowa. On the northwest corner at the stoplight, Tootsie’s Ice Cream & More has all the frosty treats that taste oh so good on a hot, summer day. Crossing the street into the 300 block, diners can snack on confectionary treats at La Porte City Bakery, Etc., which features glazed donuts declared by some to be the best in the state. Across the street, Kramer Sausage Co., home of the turkey leg served at the Iowa State Fair, offers a selection of smoked meats second to none. More culinary goodness can be found in the next block, where the Pizza Palace invites you, after trying the rest, to enjoy the best- pizza that is.
La Porte City is home to the state’s first FFA Museum. Recent renovations to the historic jail and firehouse have contributed to an impressive downtown museum district that, along with Hawkins Memorial Library, provide services that preserve and transmit culture, in addition to promoting the community. The FFA’s active presence in town can also be seen in the community orchard and raised bed gardens that will continue to grow and bear fruit for area residents to enjoy in the future.
It is fitting that La Porte City serves as a pass through community on the fifth day of RAGBRAI, which begins in Cedar Falls and ends in Hiawatha. This route mirrors the 46 mile long Cedar Valley Nature Trail, with the ride into La Porte City from the north completely paved. Along the trail, the La Porte City Lions Club gazebo serves as a welcome respite. All trails do indeed, lead to La Porte City.
Ride LPC 7-23: RAGBRAI Map
Click on the map below to enlarge it:
Ride LPC 7-23: Virtual Tour Slideshow
Ride LPC 7-23: Featured Vendors
As an early morning to mid-day stop on the fifth day of RAGBRAI, La Porte City will have a variety of breakfast and lunch options to offer RAGBRAI riders:
Glazed Donuts – They’ve been called the best in the state for good reason. Look for the LPC Bakery Etc. booth in the 300 block of Main Street.
Cookies – Look for the booth near Hawkins Memorial Library in the 300 block of Main Street. All proceeds from the sale of these homemade cookies and bars will benefit La Porte City’s public library.
The Hole Shebang – A RAGBRAI favorite, the makers of the novel Buca-wich will also offer smothered nachos and smothered pasta for your dining pleasure.
Gatorade/Bananas – Replenish your reservoir of energy with Gatorade and bananas, offered at the American Legion Post 207 booth in the 400 block.
Breakfast & Fruit Pizza – You’ve tried the rest, now enjoy the best. La Porte City’s Pizza Palace, located in the 400 block of Main Street, is where you’ll find breakfast pizza and a variety of delicious fruit (dessert) pizzas.
Pie and More – It seems you never can never find enough pie along the RAGBRAI route. Three La Porte City churches hope to remedy that situation. Look for homemade pie, in addition to burgers and brats, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church booth in the 400 block. More pie can be found at St. Paul United Methodist Church, located one block south of Main Street at the intersection of First and Sycamore Streets. The church will also be serving a pancake breakfast and a variety of baked goods. Need still more pie ( and who doesn’t?), visit the La Porte City Community Center, located one block off the official route at 301 First Street. That is where you’ll enjoy fresh baked pie and ice cream that can be washed down with a cup of coffee.
Backpocket Brewing – Adult beverages, in the form of craft beers and Bloody Marys, will be available in the Main Street staging area. As you take a break to grab a brew or bloody, enjoy some tunes provided by DJ for your listening enjoyment.
Popcorn Heaven – Gourmet popcorn in a variety of flavors.
Can Koozies – Keep your beverages cool on the road with a souvenir can koozie offered by the Sing Me to Heaven Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to families who have experienced the death of a child.
Ride LPC 7-23: Activities
After a relatively short day on the road on Wednesday, riders have a little more ground to cover on July 23. By the time they roll into La Porte City, Thursday’s ride will be nearly half complete, which leaves plenty of time to grab something to eat and take in the sights while giving the tailbone a break from the saddle:
Family Aquatic Center – Located on the left adjacent to Union High School at the bottom of the hill as riders enter La Porte City, the Family Aquatic Center offers riders an opportunity to take a dip and cool off. Complete with a water slide, lanes designated for lap swimming and a diving board, the pool has something to offer swimmers of all ages and will open at 9 AM on July 23rd.
Selfies with Dr. Wasson – RAGBRAI riders are encouraged to share any selfies they take in La Porte City with The Progress Review, the community’s weekly newspaper. One excellent opportunity is at City Hall (on the left in the 200 block of Main Street), where you can borrow a top hat and snap a photo with the bust of La Porte City founder, Dr. Jesse Wasson. Shared photos will be posted in a special photo gallery on The Progress Review’s website.
Bike Museum – A collection of old, rare and super cool bikes will be on display in the historic Jesse Wasson building, on the riders’ right across from City Hall after crossing the Main Street bridge.
Human Foosball – A popular recreational activity that lets YOU get in the game!
Beer Garden & Tunes – Take a break, grab your favorite beverage of choice and enjoy the tunes provided by DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Hawkins Memorial Library – Located in the 300 block of Main Street, this air-conditioned facility offers free wi-fi, making it a great place to check e-mail and connect with family and friends.
LPC FFA & Historical Ag Museum – Iowa’s first FFA Museum, this air-conditioned facility features unique agricultural-related displays to accompany the 2015 theme, “Picking the Good Life,” featuring some of the collections of longtime La Porte City residents Junior and Peggy McBride. The museum is located in the 400 block of Main Street.