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Midwest Marvels: Roadside Attractions across Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin

Eric Dregni
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 364
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  • Book Info
    Midwest Marvels
    Book Description:

    Regional travel expert Eric Dregni takes the reader on an off-center tour of the bizarre—and the beautiful—across Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin, from the Corn Palace to the world's tallest structure: a TV tower jutting nearly a half mile into the sky. Complete with descriptions, driving directions, and photographs, Midwest Marvels is a must-have for everyone from armchair travelers to road warriors._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9563-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Eric Dregni
    (pp. xix-xx)
    (pp. xxi-xxi)
  6. IOWA
    (pp. 3-87)

    As a “monument to the beef industry,” the citizens of Audubon created a cow. Broken windmills were salvaged and bent into the shape of a bull towering thirty feet tall and stretching fifteen feet wide at the horns. This steel frame was covered with coats of concrete and gallons of brown and white paint.

    While most bulls are castrated to turn them into steers with the leftovers fueling Rocky Mountain prairie oyster banquets, Audubon’s bovine was left with his cement testicles intact to become the World’s Largest Anatomically Correct Bull.

    Push a button at the base and hear Albert lecture...

    (pp. 91-189)

    What was dismissed as a hoax during the Depression and sold for a measly ten bucks continues to stump scholars. A huge slab of graywackle stone with ancient writing scrawled onto the surface was suspiciously discovered in 1898 by Swedish immigrant Olof Ohman while clearing stumps from his field near Kensington, Minnesota.

    With the Cardiff Giant hoax having duped the public not even thirty years before, the public was wary of another marvel dug up in some field that would rewrite the history books. Ohman’s neighbor, minister Sven Fogelblad, confessed he had studied runes, and Ohman was a trained stonemason....

    (pp. 193-257)

    No, it isn’t the Sears Tower, the Space Needle, or those buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The tallest structure in the world doesn’t rise above a new burgeoning city but is outside of the small town of Blanchard in rural northeast North Dakota. KTHI-TV and KVLY 11 raised this 2,063-foot tower in 1963 to send their signal to boob tubes across “an area larger than the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut with 1000 square miles to spare,” as they say in literature promoting the colossus.

    Two million feet of steel guy wire bow up toward three sets...

    (pp. 261-339)

    Fed up with the big city, L. Frank Baum abandoned the hustle-bustle of New York and went west. Baum reached the new frontier of the Dakota Territory in 1888 and settled down in Aberdeen, determined to start a new life. He opened a variety store downtown called Baum’s Bazaar, which was a dismal failure. He bounded back by buying the local newspaper,The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, in 1890 and proved himself a first-class writer. Although the paper went belly up the following year, Baum had found his calling.

    Over the following years, Baum took up odd jobs such as being...

    (pp. 343-434)

    “Wilbert! Wilbert!” his wife yells at the top of her lungs toward the makeshift house behind the llama cage at Behn’s Game Farm in the tiny town of Aniwa in northern Wisconsin. “He’s hard of hearing,” she explains. With a slight limp, Wilbert slowly walks out of the plywood building as though just awakened from a nap.

    At more than eighty years old, Wilbert Behn is the oldest lion and tiger tamer in the world, as well as being a fire eater and chainsaw sculptor in his free time. His white hair is frazzled, perhaps from his snooze, and his...

    (pp. 435-437)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 438-438)