Klondike, Iowa

Tree Klondike

I spent my day making, baking and decorating sheet cakes for a wedding. So I am probably slacking off and going to treat you to some photos and history of an area that my husband and I have enjoyed for our entire dating and married life.

My post of June 19, 2016 had a photo of a foundation at the site of the town of Klondike, IA.It is an area I love, as the scenery is beautiful and it is a great place to go fishing.

One of the most distinctive things that has remained unchanged over the years is the bridge that spans the Big Sioux River. Vehicles no longer travel over this bridge as a concrete one was built years ago.  The old one used to get flooded over on a regular basis in the spring.

Old Klondike Bridge

Up until about 4-5 years ago this area also had a dam that used to channel the water for the grain mill had been on the Iowa side of the river.

Since that time they have taken out the dam and replaced it with a series of rapids so that people who like to kayak can do so without portaging around it. As I am not a kayaker I kind of miss the dam and the sound of the rushing water and the spray of the water as it poured over the dam.

Klondike Rapids

For me the mill site is probably the most fascinating.  I remember as a teen there were still remnants of the large wooden structure that used to stand on the foundations. Back then there really wasn’t a historical society in the county so nothing was done to preserve it and it eventually fell apart.

There are some foundations left; but some were removed when the rapids were made. It is interesting (to me) to try figure out how it all used to look.

There are still a couple families that call Klondike home. Many of the stories of Klondike are lost to history. There are some stories that I have no idea if they are based in fact…..such as the one about Lawrence Welk playing there with his band.

I do wonder what those early pioneers were like.  The ones who settled at Klondike, built the dam, built the mill, built stores that have long since been demolished and lived their lives next to the river…..what would they think if they saw it now?  Why did the mill quit? Why did this small town go the way of so many small towns? Is all progress really progress?

I know I cannot stop time but it would sure be interesting to be able to look back and know what drove them. I think they probably had the same hopes, dreams and fears we do now.   I have a feeling it is the love of families, wanting a better life, the need to make a difference, faith and maybe wanting to leave a legacy.

We may not know who they were but the fact that it still leaves us wondering and questioning; is perhaps a legacy in itself.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren
is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life,
but rather a legacy of character and faith.
Billy Graham

Special thanks to my son Joe who took the black and white and sepia toned pics back in 2008.

21 thoughts on “Klondike, Iowa

  1. Nelvina K says:

    too have a memoriy of the old mill, when we fished there once with some friends. I do ride by there on my way to Sioux Falls sometimes. yes it is a pretty area. I love your pictures and enjoy your blogs alot. Keep it up! Blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A Nenes Life says:

    I love old buildings and homes. I wonder who and what was there when I see them becoming buried in the earth. Maybe the mystery of it all keeps me intrigued but I always want to see how it originally looked before it was left to rot away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. marijo1245 says:

    I love that area! While we never have time to stop and explore, we have driven through your area many a time! The history there seems to jump off the page with the rivers flowing through. I always try to imagine what it was like to be a settler there along the rivers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      If you drive through this area again you may have to stop on by! I would have tea waiting. My husband and sons have found rocks along the river by our place that were used by previous residents of our area. It is really fun to scavenge after a year with flooding. That would be the upside of floods.

      Liked by 1 person

      • marijo1245 says:

        I will definitely keep that in mind! We are usually that way in winter…there’s a lot of pork in the area. We frequent Worthington, MN.

        Floods are good and they can be bad. Like the fires in Mesa Verde years ago, destroyed parts but uncovered new areas. It’s a sermon on God using the bad for our good! (I could make anything a sermon…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • thechickengrandma says:

        yes we have lots of pork in this area! Seems like every corner has a hog finishing house on it.
        And being able to find biblical principals in regular life is a great gift……which is why I enjoy your blog so much!


  4. mandygirl238 says:

    My grandmother was born in Klondike and my great grandfather owned the general store. I believe that it burned down once and he rebuilt it. Eventually they moved to the west coast and that’s where they lived the rest of their life!

    Liked by 1 person

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