MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION - THE CAR IN AMERICA 

I counted down the day until I was able to get my driver’s license as
a teenager. A car represented independence and the rest of my life.

My Dad had started a savings account for me when I was born and had
dutifully put in a couple bucks a week every week. We decided a
suitable amount to spend on a first car would be about $500. It
couldn’t just be any car though — this was MY first car. After an epic
back and forth with my parents, who I can now say wisely wanted me to
get a boring dependable car, I was able to get the car of my dreams or
the closest thing that $500 could get me. It was a 1979 Pontiac
special edition “Yellow Bird” Firebird with t-tops.

It was awful. The t-tops leaked in the rain. They were so heavy. I
was pulled over often because it was Iowa and not a lot happened, so
they had time to check in on young girls with crazy cars. Most days I
had to “two foot it” or constantly give the car slight gas so that it
wouldn’t die at intersections. One door had been dented by the farm
boy who sold it to me and it was very much a different shade of yellow
than the rest of the car. But — I adored it. The imperfections made it
mine.

My friend Theresa and I would go over to the East side to cruise the
loop most weekend nights. I could drive myself to school. My friend
Mike and I would jump in without opening the doors like Bo and Luke
Duke and then drive around listening to cassette tapes we bought at
the pawn shop. I loved every minute of it.

The car only lasted about six months total before it stopped running.
My uncle Hulie bought the engine off me for about the price of the car
so I could get my next car. I’ve had many cars, a couple scooters and
one motorcycle since, but I’ll probably never love a car more than
that one.

We experience life in our cars — we eat in them, sleep in them, watch
movies in them, and they become a small expression of us.

Guide Note: Photos from Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

* * *

Tammy Mercure is a State Guide to Tennessee. She was named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine.

Follow on Tumblr at tammymercure or on her website, TammyMercure.com. Support her work at TCB Press. 

MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.
And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *
Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.
And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *
Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.
And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *
Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.
And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *
Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.
And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *
Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.
And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *
Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

MID AMERICA POWER PLANT - COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA

Midwest Guide Rob Walters saw smoke rising into the Iowa sky of Council Bluffs, pulled out his #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and recorded the Mid America Power Plant for Field Assingment #10: Products and Manufacturing/Industry.

And, as this WPA writer noted in 1938, there’s a truism about industry in Iowa:

Industries often developed first to supply the farmers’ needs; later they were started in order to process farm products.

—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

* * *

Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide ROB WALTERS has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow him on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.

MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA

Marshalltown, the industrial center and seat of Marshall County, is a city on the prairie, stencilled with railroad tracks and hard-surfaced highways and bordered on the north by the Iowa River. It is built around the courthouse, as is traditional with county seat towns in Iowa. The friendly dials of the clock tower, luminous above a fringe of green trees on Main Street, command the entire community. Farmers in “Sunday best” or everyday overalls, drive in from the country to transact business here and, lingering in the square, discuss the latest prices at the canning factory which contracts with them for sweet corn. Their wives and daughters, strolling along Main or Center Streets, window-gaze or pur chase items on their shopping lists. A constant ebb and flow of foot and automobile traffic suggests the many brisk activities of the neighborhood.
From the courthouse, the residence district spreads fanwise toward the west and north. Most factories are in the southeast. Thousands of trees shade the wide boulevards; in the summer the city appears to be covered with arbors of green from which emerge smokestacks, the courthouse, and the tower of the Iowa Soldiers’ Home in the northwest environs. Beyond Marshalltown’s borders is the corn country flat, almost timberless prairie extending for miles.
—Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

Marshalltown, Iowa, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 50 inches, 2013
* * *
Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs —beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists), dim with beauty (Southern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr atnburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.
Zoom Info

MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA

Marshalltown, the industrial center and seat of Marshall County, is a city on the prairie, stencilled with railroad tracks and hard-surfaced highways and bordered on the north by the Iowa River. It is built around the courthouse, as is traditional with county seat towns in Iowa. The friendly dials of the clock tower, luminous above a fringe of green trees on Main Street, command the entire community. Farmers in “Sunday best” or everyday overalls, drive in from the country to transact business here and, lingering in the square, discuss the latest prices at the canning factory which contracts with them for sweet corn. Their wives and daughters, strolling along Main or Center Streets, window-gaze or pur chase items on their shopping lists. A constant ebb and flow of foot and automobile traffic suggests the many brisk activities of the neighborhood.

From the courthouse, the residence district spreads fanwise toward the west and north. Most factories are in the southeast. Thousands of trees shade the wide boulevards; in the summer the city appears to be covered with arbors of green from which emerge smokestacks, the courthouse, and the tower of the Iowa Soldiers’ Home in the northwest environs. Beyond Marshalltown’s borders is the corn country flat, almost timberless prairie extending for miles.

Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

Marshalltown, Iowa, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 50 inches, 2013

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs —beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists), dim with beauty (Southern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr atnburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

FAIRFIELD, IOWA

FAIRFIELD, 52 m. (780 alt., 6,619 pop.), was so named by its founders because of the natural beauty of the site.

Iowa, A Guide To the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938)

Fairfield is everything that’s beautiful about small town Iowa – the downtown square with a gazebo, well-loved and well-worn pick-ups corralled in diagonal parking slips. It also happens to be home to the Golden Domes of Pure Knowledge. Their glittering arcs rise to cap the landscape and inside, adherents practice transcendental meditation that they believe reduces violence and crime around the world. Certainly, dusk over at the Dairy Bar is about as peaceful as it comes. 

* * *

Erin Chapman is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.

Iowans may appear indifferent to the natural beauty of their State and to its amazing power as a producer of foodstuffs, but when asked to help with the production of an Iowa guide book, they responded generously.

Iowa, A Guide To the Hawkeye State (WPA, 1938) 

We start the day with this quote to prompt the question, where ARE you Iowa? And you, Missouri? What about you? We need you! Are the streets of St. Louis and Des Moines empty? Has the Mississippi run dry? Have the fields and hollers been abandoned?

Delawareans, you get a call out, too. We’ve got a single photo from Delaware. That’s it. We need you, too!

To the rest of you: it’s been an amazing week, folks. Yesterday saw fantastic contributions from the states we publicly shamed — Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Wisconsin — and we’ll be sharing those today. If you haven’t seen your post yet, don’t worry, it’s still to come. We’ve got a backlog of fantastic material that we’re rolling out.

Very importantly, please let us know if you’ve tagged a post for AG Week (#AmericanGuideWeek) and haven’t heard a direct thanks from us. We’ve come across several contributions that weren’t showing up in the search and we don’t want to lose anybody. Message us on Tumblr or email us at theamericanguide@gmail.com.

Alright, people, roll up your sleeves and be a Guide for one last day!

We’re in the home stretch of #AmericanGuideWeek—two more days to go—but there’s a hole in the heart of America. Iowans and Missourians, we need you! 

We could also use posts from:

- Coloradans

- Delawareans

- Georgians

- Idahoans 

- Illinoisans

- Mainers

- Massachusettsans

- Marylanders

- Virginians

- Wisconsinites

Folks, each of those places has only a couple of posts to its name and in every one of those cases, it’s not something from a native or a resident. Do you want some two-bit greenhorn providing the only description of your state? (We love you, two-bit greenhorns! Your photos are spectacular!)

You’ve got two days left… Tell the Guide where to find you.