2016 marks my first year of creating a calendar highlighting scenes from my hometown of Tipton, Iowa. I’ve done some photography work for the City of Tipton in the past and have contributed many images (through both donation and freelance sales) to the City’s promotional efforts. In fact, you will find a lot of my work peppered throughout Tipton’s official city website (www.tiptoniowa.org) , Facebook page, and in print material.
While my focus has always been (and always will be) nature photography it’s fun to occasionally mix it up with some city views, especially from this place where I grew up. (Technically I grew up on a farm 2 miles west of Tipton; but this is where I went to church and school, worked a part-time job, hung out with friends and found plenty of fun and mischief roaming the streets during those formative years.)
Tipton is your classic Iowa small town. County seat, one stoplight, down to earth people, excellent schools; just a great place to grow up or raise your kids. For that reason, and for a lot of people who have lived here, this will always be home. I decided to put together this calendar with that in mind- for those who still live here to display their local pride and for those who have moved away to have reminders of this place they still hold dear. And in that same spirit I will be donating $3 from the sale of each 2016 Tipton Calendar to the ongoing effort of renovating our cherished Hardacre Theater.
The Hardacre lies deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of likely everyone who has considered Tipton home, full of fond memories for all. My parents took me to see my first movie here (E.T. way back in the day!) It’s also where I took my wife on our first “official” date (though we were pretty well acquainted at that point after a thousand miles together on the trail. Stories for another time…) Unfortunately like many old small town theaters the Hardacre has fallen into disrepair and needs considerable work to bring it up to modern standards. A local nonprofit has formed and has an amazing vision to return the Hardacre to its former glory and allow it to again serve as a centerpiece for the community. It’s a monumental task, but very realistic if given adequate support. Please take a moment to read more at thehardacre.org and consider a donation if you’re able.
The images found in my 2016 Calendar and brief descriptions are as follow…
January- Old Cedar County Jail
The Old Cedar County Jail served as jailhouse for Cedar County from 1894-2001, and also as residence for Cedar County Sheriff’s/Deputies and later jailers. Located a block east of the Courthouse the building has been converted to a museum and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Click here to visit their website, and be sure to click the link at the top of the page for an interesting read on the jail’s history.
February- Tipton Conservative Office
It looks kind of like a painted mural, but this is a reflection of Tipton City Hall in the window of our local newspaper office. (Fourth estate junkies won’t have to strain too hard to find a metaphor here.)
Yes, our newspaper is called “The Conservative” which does at times illicit snickers from outsiders; but it’s actually a great little weekly and a Cedar County institution run by the Clark family for many, many years.
March- Hardacre Theater
Here’s a view of the Hardacre Theater marquee. It’s really a catching site when the theater is in operation and things are all lit up for movie night with movie posters in the windows and an eager crowd at the door. Such scenes have fallen silent for the time but are still alive in local memory and lore, and can hopefully be enjoyed soon again.
I mentioned the Hardacre Theater Preservation Association website above. You can also show support and follow renovation efforts on social media, including their Facebook page (click here.)
April- Clock on the Courthouse Square
This ornate clock was installed a few years ago on the Courthouse Square and stands against the backdrop of historic buildings on Main Street.
May- Flags on the Library Square
Tipton is a very patriotic community, and always goes all out decorating for holidays such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Fourth of July. This photo was taken at the statue commemorating area residents who fought in the Civil War, on a rainy Memorial Day morning a few years back.
June- Hardacre Community Garden
Hardacre Community Garden is an amazing resource for Tipton and Cedar County. Named for the same man who donated money for our theater (he once lived on the property back in the 1800’s) each year volunteers literally grow TONS (as in tens of thousands of pounds) of fresh produce. This food is free to anyone who wishes to come out and harvest it, and the majority is donated to local food pantries, nursing homes, and residents in need.
Mike Boyle is the heart and soul of this project, and devotes countless hours to the garden every year. He was recently recognized with a prestigious Presidential Lifetime Volunteerism Award and honored at a ceremony in Washington D.C. Click here and fast forward to minute 53 to see the video of this ceremony and listen to the wonderful accolades spoken of Mike and our community.
In past years I have happily volunteered at the garden, had an article I wrote on this community gem published in The Iowan Magazine, and maintained a blog and Facebook page in trying to promote volunteerism. Regrettably, in more recent times I have been so overwhelmed with the obligations of working full time and growing my photography business (which during the summer far exceeds the equivalent of a second full time job) my availability has been limited. I really hope to rectify this in 2016; either in finding the time to volunteer myself or seeking out someone to take over administration of the Facebook page. It really is a phenomenal community resource and deserves greater recognition.
July- Aaron Sissel float- Fourth of July Parade
Aaron Sissel was your classic small town All-American boy. He was just a bit younger than me, but we had many mutual friends and I remember him fondly. He always had a smile and an outgoing, upbeat personality and a positive outlook he brought to every situation.
Aaron grew up wanting to be a solider, and enlisted after high school. He was killed while serving his country during an ambush in Iraq on November 29, 2003.
I will never forget that day. Our entire community was devastated; just absolutely shattered by this loss. But of course Aaron’s spirit will always live on, and each year scholarships are awarded to area high school students in his name and memory. The Aaron Sissel Scholarship committee also hosts a number of fundraisers including bowling and softball tournaments to garner funds for this effort and to allow friends to gather each year and honor a life cut way too short. Visit the Aaron Sissel Memorial Scholarship website by clicking this link, and please consider a donation if you’re able.
August- Tipton Car Show
Community events (such as the annual Car and Classic Tractor show) always bring out a lot of enthusiasm in Tipton. Here you see a restored Plymouth in front of the Hardacre Theater.
September- Fall Colors
Tipton is absolutely gorgeous in the autumn, with lots of beautiful old hardwood trees adorning nearly every lawn. Definitely one of my favorite times of year around here!
October- Halloween Decor
Once again, Tipton residents love to decorate for the holidays… but the weirdos living in this house can sometimes take things too far! (Just kidding, my cousin Jake and his wife Amie live here and always do a fantastic job of embracing the spirit of whichever holiday is upon us. I need to comp them a calendar or two for their hard work and providing material!)
November- Tiger Pride
I came across this Tiger logo while wandering 5th Street one late autumn day and thought it was pretty emblematic of the loyal support this community is always quick to throw behind our schools and Tipton Tiger sports. It is not uncommon to drive around town and see Tiger Pride flags lining the streets flapping in the breeze, or find black and gold apparel hanging in the windows of downtown storefronts. From our strong deep rooted traditions in track and cross country, to volleyball, football, wrestling, and everything in between Tipton fans love to get out and cheer on our teams. It was only recently that I was informed that these sidewalk paintings were done by Coach Rich Fisher as a fundraiser for the baseball team.
To check out what’s going on with the Tipton Community School District visit its website at www.tipton.k12.ia.us
December- Tipton Public Library
We are fortunate to have a beautiful old Carnegie Library for the benefit of all in Tipton. The building which dates to 1903 houses not only a fine collection of books, access to computers and public meeting space; but also a collection of work by famed Iowa artist Grant Wood. With a library staff always eager to assist and the “Friends of the Tipton Public Library” group providing passionate support this local institution offers a multitude of educational programs that are well attended and very much enjoyed by people of all ages in the community.
To learn more visit the Tipton Public Library website at www.tipton.lib.ia.us
While it is unlikely orders can still be received in time for Christmas (unless you live in Tipton and we can arrange to meet- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) I do have a limited number of 2016 Tipton Calendars still available. Calendars are $15 plus tax and shipping (which comes to about $20 total.) Click here for ordering information.
Notice: I will be traveling from December 26 through January 5 and unable to process orders during that time. Any orders placed during this period will be promptly shipped out as soon as I return home. Sorry for any convenience (but rest assured these babies won’t expire for another 12 months!)