Got to spend some time in this town, almost equally distant from Omaha, Sioux City, and Des Moines. I had a primer in advance, having read Dale Maharidge's excellent book, Denison, Iowa: Searching for the Soul of America Through the Secrets of a Midwest Town. It's a great take on how immigration, post 9/11 has been affecting not just border towns, but the heartland. The town by some estimates, may be approaching up to 40% Hispanic.
Dension's claim to fame has been Donna Reed and her influence is ever present throughout the town, apparently to the chagrin of many.
Dale's book talks a lot about the controversial "Streetscape" project Denison undertook, and has been implemented as a way to try to revitalize their downtown, perhaps partially in response to the Wal-Mart that was built on the west side of town. Having driven through other towns around Denison, I give credit for their attempt to beautify their downtown, though apparently they didn't provide sufficient subsurface mitigation measures as some of the downtown businesses are dealing with basement flooding from the irrigation resulting from Streetscape. (The photos were taken early on a Sunday morning, which is why there are hardly any vehicles.)
Throughout Streetscape there are handprints inset in concrete. It reminds me of the Hollywood Walk of Fame mixed with Planet Hollywood Restaurant's celebrity handprints on the wall. Don't know what it took to get yourself memorialized here.
(City Hall didn't get the decked out Streetscape treatment)
The town itself has several historic buildings and the book talks about the efforts of townspeople to preserve the character.
Known as the Shaw Mansion, it was the residence of former Iowa governor and Sec. of Treasury under Teddy Roosevely, L.W. Shaw. The house has since been converted to apartments and was where Dale stayed during his time writing his book. It has seen better days.
Sunset facing the rolling hills to the west