After leaving the quad Cities area, we headed to the Iowa state Winnebago Rally in Hampton, IA. This move allowed us to see how another state conducts a rally and places us just over 60 miles from our next big destination of Forest City Iowa and the Winnebago Grand National Rally. We settled into the Franklin County fairgrounds in what turned out to be the very friendly town of Hampton, Iowa.
The first thing we noticed was that the fairgrounds was a bit different than others we have been in. On the grounds is the county history museum, which contains numerous displays of the local history and like many small museums has that homey touch. It also has a small model prairie village “Pleasant Hill” , which honors members of the Union Army from Franklin County. During the battle on 9 April, 1864, 11 members lost their lives.
As the state rally progressed, we as visitors were made to feel very welcome. We enjoyed making new friends and sharing experiences. The food and entertainment were enjoyable and we particularly enjoyed the pig roast on Saturday.
We made a short side trip to the Breeds Lake State Park located on a small lake that was created early in the last century to operate a grist mill and later the CCC built a spillway that remains to this day. The park has plenty of picnic and camping facilities and the spillway provides a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.
The town of Hampton is the kind of community where most people lived before the WWII. The town reflects life as it was before urbanization became the vogue. Town square and bandstand place a central role. Remembering the past is part of the present. It is a pleasant and friendly community with an active downtown. We went to the play “our Town” at the Windsor Theater. The Windsor has been open since 1903. One of the local businesses provided bus transportation to town all day Saturday and many of those attending the rally visited the retail stores. A memorial to those lost to the Civil War remains a focal point. 44 lives from Franklin County were lost during that conflict, out of a total population of 1200. The only major town of that time was Hampton with a population of 300. That loss would have been 15 percent of the town’s population.