Velda's Varieties

Velda DeMoss

Four Rippey Ladies

Four ladies from Rippey,  Mary Weaver, Jean Borgeson, Toni Roberts, and Velda DeMoss, enjoyed a “day away” on Thursday, June 18.    The goal of the trip was to visit some libraries, eat at a Lincoln Highway restored restaurant and tour Matchstick Marvels at Gladbrook.  All of that and more was accomplished.

With Mary as the driver they arrived in Marshalltown where they made a stop at the Library, which was an award winning building built in 2008.   They were pleased to see children taking part in the summer reading program, “Be Creative at Your Library”, which is used in all libraries big or small this summer.     They also made use of the internet to solve a disagreement about the Lincoln Highway restored Café.  (It later developed the both people were correct.)

the four ladies

The next stop was for lunch at Youngville, a restored restaurant on the Lincoln Highway.  This stop proved to be a hoot as they watched and visited with the volunteers who serve lunch each Tuesday and Thursday.   The group wisely chose to have pie, which was wonderful!   The lady who makes the pies makes at least 20 pies for each Tuesday and Thursday as well as 40 for a farmers market hosted there on Friday afternoon.   The Rippey ladies decided they whine a bit about baking 2 pies several times a year for church functions and they could not imagine baking that many pies---plus at the young age of 77,  she renders her lard for the pie crusts!


Driving through Tama County they saw several barn quilts and a lot of full rivers and creeks.   At Vinton they drove through the grounds of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, admiring the architecture of the original buildings.  The unanswered question was-how many people live or are served at the site?

Traer was the next town on the trip.  There they found (across the street from the winding stairs) a remodeled Carnegie Library.  It was obvious the community and staff were very proud of their facility.   The size of the library had doubled in the remodeling-eliminating the traditional steps of a Carnegie Library and installing an elevator.   The outside brick wall of the old library had been incorporated into the new design giving an interesting effect.  They had also matched the beautiful woodwork from the original building in the new area.    The Director was very gracious, taking the tourists through the library, community room, and culture center.

From Traer they went to Gladbrook to “Matchstick Marvels”.   The ladies were quick to tell everyone in Gladbrook that the matchstick artist, Pat Acton, is a Greene County native.   The models are incredible works of art.  Ripley’s Believe it or Not have purchased many of the models and are displayed all over the world.  The City of Gladbrook built a building to house a movie theater, city hall and the matchstick art.   Up the street was the Gladbrook Library.  It was a small, homey, library that had been enlarged when the city hall moved to the new building.   Again the staff was friendly and stated they had never had a “tour” before.   Another stop was made at the Gladbrook Veterans Memorial and Park. 

Starting back toward Rippey they stopped at Colo at the Reed/Niland restored gas station and café.  (The earlier disagreement about Lincoln Highway restored gas stations and restaurants was resolved, there are two in Iowa.)   There they encountered two antique cars that were traveling the Lincoln Highway, re-enacting the 1909 trip made by Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive across the U.S.  Alice Ramsey was hired by the Maxwell Car Company to drive across the country in the hopes that it would encourage women to buy cars.   Another lady is driving a restored 1909 Maxwell from New York City to California and has been getting publicity about her trip.   This group, stopped at Colo, called themselves renegades and doing this trip on their own.  They were from Vermont and started from Poughkeepsie, NY. and stated they were taking one day at a time with the two old cars.   Just like people coming to Iowa for RAGBRAI, they had been told that Iowa was flat.


Inspired by the Vermonters adventuresome spirit, Mary drove from Colo to Ames on the Lincoln Highway. (In air conditioned Jeep comfort!)    The ladies agree you can do a “stay-cation” in Iowa, where they found everyone “Iowa Nice”.   Their sleep that night was interrupted by nightmares about baking 80-100 pies a week!