Ringgold County

Ringgold County is a quiet rural community surrounded by rich farmland in Southwestern Iowa, just 22 miles west of Interstate 35 on State Highway 2. Founded in 1875, the community was named in honor of poet Robert Burns’ birthplace in Ayr, Scotland, and the “mount” was added to indicate its location on the highest point of land in the area. While retaining our past with historic buildings and cobblestone streets around our beautiful town square, we are moving towards the future with a new hospital opening in January 2010, a new elementary school being constructed and a new jail project being worked on. Whether you are looking for a place to relocate and raise your children, to start-up a business or a place to retire, we have it all.

For more information contact:
Martha Landphair
P: 641-464-3704
E: ringgoldtourism@gmail.com
www.mountayriowa.org


ATTRACTIONS

Corn King Mural
Mount Ayr Post Office
Diagonal Printing Museum & Genealogy Ctr
Diagonal
Ellston Museum & Pioneer Village
Ellston
First Hy-Vee Store
Beaconsfield
Freedom Rock
Diagonal–Main Street
Lucky Lanes Bowling
Mount Ayr
Mt Ayr Restored Depot
Mount Ayr
Princess Theater
Mount Ayr
Ramsey Farm
Leasonville
Sun Valley Lake
East of Ellston
Lock Ayr Lake
2 miles n of Mount Ayr

Places to Stay

Charlie – Jane’s B&B

400 W. Madison
Mount Ayr, IA
641-464-2564

Mount Ayr Inn & Suites

Intersection of Highways 169 & 2
Mount Ayr, IA
641-464-3500

Lesanville Inn B&B

2285 270th Ave.
4 miles east of Mount Ayr on Highway 2
641-414-8550

The Little House

101 N. West St.
Mount Ayr, IA
641-464-3624

The Little House

101 N. West St.
Mount Ayr, IA
641-464-3624


Parks/Campgrounds

Fife’s Grove Park

641-464-2787

Kokesh Recreational Area

Diagonal
641-464-2787

Poe Hollow Park

Mount Ayr
641-464-2787

Sportsman Lodge

Lamoni
641-344-8480


Experience Aunt Jennie’s Attic in Downtown Mount Ayr

Aunt Jennie’s Attic was opened in November of 2004 as a joint venture with Ramsey Farms. It is located at 114 W. Madison Street on the north side of the square in Mount Ayr.

Aunt Jennie’s Attic was named to honor the memory of the late Paul Ramsey’s aunt, Jennie Lesan Vance, with whom he spent his summers in Iowa as a young boy. According to her granddaughters, Aunt Jennie’s attic was a truly wonderful place.

Visitors to Aunt Jennie’s Attic will find a unique collection of antique furniture, dishes, glassware, and other vintage items as well as rustic paintings, original woodcarvings, pottery, Amish baskets, dolls, quilts, and collectibles. They also carry giftware such as WoodWick® candles, Willow Tree® figurines, jewelry, scarves, candy and many holiday items. Also, offered is a huge variety of colors as well as glazes, waxes and metallics of Vintage Market & Design™ chalk based furniture paint.

Aunt Jennie’s annual Christmas open house brings a vast selection of Christmas decorations and gift ideas for all those who come from miles around to shop during the holiday season.

It is owner Marilyn Saville’s goal to make a visit to Aunt Jennie’s Attic a unique shopping experience…a time to relax, browse, and discover connections to the past. New treasures arrive almost daily, so there’s always something “new” in the attic. As life long residents and former teachers, Marilyn and her husband James enjoy visiting with old friends as well as making new ones.

Aunt Jennie’s Attic is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm; Saturday from 10 am to 2pm. They will also be open by appointment. For more information call the store at 641-464-2149, cell phone at 641-234-0125 or email auntjennies@iowatelecom.net. You can also find Aunt Jennie’s Attic on Facebook, www.auntjenniesattic.com and cyberattic.com.

ORR FISHER Paintings on Display in Mount Ayr

Orr Fisher is a famed artist that was born in Ringgold County in 1885. Fisher painted “The Corn Parade” mural in the Mount Ayr Post Office. President Franklin D Roosevelt and Congress commissioned the mural as part of the recovery from the depression designed to get Americans back to work called the WPA project. Fisher had submitted many sketches and “The Corn Parade” was chosen for the Mount Ayr Post Office and another of his sketches called “Evening on the Farm” was chosen for the Forest City Post Office.

The mural is still in great shape and can be seen by many visitors at the Mount Ayr Post Office.

Fisher, a painter, muralist, cartoonist, author as well as an inventor lived in Mount Ayr, New York and California. He passed away in 1974 and left most of his estate to his niece Donna Howard. After his niece’s passing last winter, all of Fisher’s remaining art work was willed to Iowa State University.

Iowa State University allowed some of his paintings and works to be displayed in Mount Ayr. The Mount Ayr Depot Museum was the recipient of images, letters and other paper items as well as some of his paintings. Other places in Mount Ayr that were able to display his paintings are the Mount Ayr Public Library and the Ringgold County Extension Office.

It is hoped that in 2016 there will be a celebration of his work in Mount Ayr.

Ringgold Trailway Caboose Restored

The Ringgold Trailway caboose was acquired in 1979 from the Burlington Northern Railroad. This rail line was completely abandoned in 1977. It is a 1940’s model caboose and has been a fixture of the Ringgold Trailway for over 30 years. The caboose is located on the east side of Mount Ayr on Highway 169 at the entrance of the Ringgold Trailway.

In 2014, the Conservation Board began renovation efforts of the caboose due to the severe deterioration of the structure. Any original piece that could be salvaged was left on the caboose, including the interior bunks. The final touches were completed in 2015, making the caboose a safe structure for the public to once again enjoy.

Caboose: A strange word for a strange railroad car that somehow survived for more than a hundred years, from the days of oil burning lamps into the computer age. The origins of both the car and the word are surrounded as much by legend as by fact. One popular version dates the word back to a derivation of the Dutch word “kombuis,” which referred to a ship’s galley.

The use of the caboose began in the 1830’s as a rail transport vehicle at the end of a train and had many functions. The caboose served such purposes as: an office for the conductor, living quarters for long trips, and space for the brakeman and flagman. In 1863 a conductor discovered he could view his train better by peering through the hole in the roof of his boxcar, so became the cupola, a lookout post atop the caboose.

The caboose lasted over a hundred years as a functioning part of the railroad system. Until the 1980’s, United States law required all freight trains to have a caboose and a full crew for safety. Technology soon overtook the use of the caboose with the automatic air brake system and the use of the electric track circuits that activate signals providing safety and protection for the trains. Trains became longer and freight cars taller, making it difficult for the conductor to see, and labor laws reduced the hours of the crew, making lodging unnecessary. The caboose became an American tradition, while other countries eliminated their use many years before.

Contributing to the success of this project with partial funding for the restoration includes: the Ringgold County H.E.L.P. Youth Philanthropy Group and the Ringgold Outdoor Alliance.