The Smith Compound

Still and always an Iowa fan, Hawkeye fan and born-and-raised flatlander, this blogger has moved to Colorado.

Wide open spaces, where the wild things (coyotes) live

Follow along if you like at The Smith Compound. You can visit any time, without that long drive through Nebraska. (You can even post stuff. Depending on the content, your blogger might even let it stay on the blog.)


What’s more fun? Watching the big balloons glow at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids…

…or punching out the little ones?

Iowa story ideas?

While continuing to neglect this little online corner of Iowa to focus on other stuff, I’m always looking for stories about interesting people doing interesting things.

Suggestions are welcome, as are comments about your own favorite Iowa places, whether real, virtually real or wholly imaginary.

Bridge on an Iowa trail

Bridge on an Iowa trail

Somewhere in Iowa. Recognize this spot?

Please use your real name when commenting. Thank you.

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neighborhood 031b

Mystery masks

When you’re strolling along rather than driving, you have more time to look around and sometimes be surprised by what you’ve been missing. I had probably driven by this spot several dozen times before finally noticing the faces. If you know where they are, you probably also know where to find that menacing frog.

Update (5/17/09): I forgot to mention those aren’t the only faces you’ll see. For another picture, click here.

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We seem to have an irresistible urge to write on our old bridges and landmarks, or carve our names and initials in them, to leave our mark like Angelique did in January.


This picture could have been taken lots of places. Let’s see if you can identify the actual town where the bridge is located.

Hint: Where it sits now is not where it was built.

Another hint: Click here.

OK, one final hint: Another picture.

Identify all five* Iowa places in the Iowa Places Challenge and you’ll earn a free cup of coffee (or a soft drink if you don’t drink coffee) when you’re in Cedar Rapids. (Maybe a real prize, too.*)

To enter: Email your answers to bj@bjsmith.us after you figure out Challenge #5.

Have fun!

* Development of Parts 2 through 5 of the Iowa Places Challenge is on hold.

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One big amphibian

One big amphibian

Updated 4/23: A friend who saw this picture seems to have taken it as a personal challenge to find the frog. Be the first to identify its location by leaving a comment here, naming the nearest intersection, and you get a free coffee, soft drink or beer, on me. (Mrs. Smith is not eligible.)

Contest remains open until someone provides the correct answer. Your first (and only) hint is in that headline. Much more difficult challenges will follow. Maybe there will even be a real prize someday!

Please use your real name when commenting. Thank you.

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