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By Gerald F. Schnepf, Executive Director
Granite, Iowa that is! If we were being precisely accurate – I think we would need to say Sioux Quartzite. That is the underlying bedrock in the area around Granite, Iowa (the Sioux Quartzite is often called Granite). It is the only area in Iowa where this stone comes to earth’s surface. It is about five miles from the community of Granite, Iowa and in a State area – Gitchie Manitou State Preserve. The community of Granite is near the Big Sioux river and also sits at the doorstep of the 3,000-acre Blood Run National Historic Landmark area.
Granite is the most northwest town in Iowa. You can’t find it on an Iowa highway map. It is a small unincorporated village. Small might be an overstatement. Granite has a population of nine people. It is located about six miles west of Larchwood, Iowa. Granite has never been a big town and probably never will be, but, it is solid as a rock. In 2012 the community celebrated its 125th anniversary – Quasquicentenial.
We could spend a great deal of time on the interesting history of Granite, how it began with the name of “Luka” and the early residents – the Pettigrew family, but, this article is more about the community’s future than its past.
This little community even has its own industrial park with a recent business development called Miller loaders. This company makes loader attachments for tractors and other machinery. It is a clean and attractive facility. There is a re-created country store, restaurant, streets and other historical structures, tractor parts center and a collection of tractors stored and displayed for the public.
Granite has gained a reputation for running a unique threshing bee in July. During the month – particularly on weekends there are various activities. This year marks its 32nd anniversary. The main festival is on July 16 and 17. There is no admission fee and the event will draw over 3,000 people. A demonstration of Wheat Threshing, a kids’ tractor pull, a lunch, and a parade featuring old tractors and cars are the highlights of the Bee.
Other activities occur on the site throughout the spring, summer and fall all coordinated by over 300 volunteers from the region. The key to Granite’s future is the stimulus and spark that the nine residents provide – solid as a rock! Pack up the family and travel northwest Iowa to see one of Iowa’s beautiful small towns with a future – say “hello” to a great small town group of citizens.
P.S. While you are there, take in the adjacent National Historic Landmark site of Blood Run. Soon to be Iowa’s newest State Park and possible joint venture with South Dakota.