Photographing the Forgotten Magic of All 947 Towns in Iowa

13 Apr

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

What Cheer, Iowa. Population 646. Photo by Cody Weber

It’s an Iowan pastime, Cody Weber tells me, to take long drives down dirt-and-gravel roads just to see where you’ll end up. Often, these road will go on for miles, jilting your car with every bump on the rough terrain, before dropping you off in a little town with fewer than a thousand people. Sometimes, there’s a gas station, but more often you find a patchwork of abandoned schoolhouses, corner stores with caved-in roofs, rolling fields, and houses where the same families of Iowans have lived for generations. If you blink, you’ll miss these places entirely—but if you look at these towns very closely, with the right perspective, you just might find something magical there.

That’s what Weber says, at least, and he would know. The native Iowan set off last month to photograph all 947 towns in the state for…

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