Reflections Along the White Pole Road

The White Pole Road is the original dirt road that began in the Midwest between Omaha and Des Moines in the early 1900s. It went on to become the first certified state route stretching from Davenport to Omaha. As a tribute to that history, more than 700 poles have been repainted white along the 26-mile original byway that runs parallel to Interstate 80.

In the book Reflections Along the White Pole Road, Route 66-like diversions offer travelers a look through the lens of photographer, Tim Florer, along with original historical photographs and recollections by local residents. The adventures along White Pole Road include Jesse James, Bonnie and Clyde, the great flood, and the National Plowing Match of 1948 with an address by President Harry S. Truman.

A piece of history, preserved by the White Pole Road Association.

My Reflections: Before Interstate 80 was built across Iowa, White Pole Road had plenty of traffic through town. But these days, the White Pole Road Development Corporation keeps those poles painted white between Dexter and Adair, to promote tourism for five small towns with populations of 348 in the smallest (Menlo) to 1695 in the largest (Stuart).

This terrific book has photos and memories of back in the day as well as today. A keepsake.

Copies may be ordered through Amazon. Locally, they are available at any bank along White Pole Road (Dexter, Stuart, Menlo, Casey, and Adair), Stuart Flowers & Gifts, the Dexter Historical Museum and Drew’s Chocolates in Dexter.

There’s a photo of the contraption that paved White Pole Road/Great White Way for the first time through Dexter in 1929 in Chapter 11 of Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.


    • Interstate 80 bypassed these little towns. Stuart is about the only one to begin to flourish again, but we’re in hopes that a little tourism will help!

      • When we were in an adventuresome mood, we always took back roads to explore small towns, but these days, everyone’s in such a rush!

      • I think that’s what this White Pole Road group is encouraging! Whenever we go to Guthrie Center (the only place I remember Grandma Leora), we like to go cross-country, through the small towns and country roads, many times visiting a cemetery. We’re actually headed to the Cabbage Rose restaurant in an old building along the main street and is only open for Sunday dinner, but the journey adds to the ambiance.

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