Fans of the “Leora stories” have already been traveling to see where some of the stories took place, or to find places connected with the Clabe and Leora Wilson and their family. Since many of the stories are from Dexter and Stuart, here’s some help with places along White Pole Road.
The Goffs and the Wilsons rode the Liza Jane train many times between Stuart and Guthrie Center. The Stuart Depot, right along White Pole Road, has been renovated and is in use for local activities. Commemorative bricks were sold as a fundraiser. Four Wilson bricks are part of the display near the depot. Address: 1193-1199 Front St, Stuart, IA 50250
“Grandmother’s House” still stands, along White Pole Road and across from the Dexter Park. A monument near the sidewalk names Dexter men who were combat casualties.
The Dexter Methodist Church, where Leora and her mother were baptized, is two blocks south of “Grandmother’s House.”
The Dexter water tower, which Delbert climbed to tie his class colors, is easy to find. (Story on page 66 of Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression)
The Dexter Public Library, along Marshall Street, is in the same place where Clabe Wilson worked on the 1939 WPA project to remodel it. (see pages 81 and 82) Earlier the doctors’ office was in that building. Doris saw Clyde Barrow’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche come out bandaged up after the Dexfield Park shootout in 1933.
A block south and across the street is the Dexter Museum, where there is a large display about the Wilson family. They also own the Mrs. Potts sadiron which belonged to Leora’s mother, Laura Goff when she lived at Dexter.
The 1916 Dexter Community Building, where the Wilson kids played basketball, is one block west of the library. It’s on the National List of Historic Places.
Drew’s Chocolates has been in business since 1927. (see page 142) It’s still a popular stop along White Pole Road at the west edge of Dexter.
There’s a marker for Dexfield Park, where the 1933 shootout with Bonnie and Clyde happened, is a couple of miles north of Drew’s on Dexfield Road.
Please check your local library for copies of Leora’s Early Years: Guthrie County Roots and Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression. I hope your high school students will enjoy the short chapters in both of these books!
I hope to visit sometime. We haven’t been to Iowa yet, and are anxious to get there!
Iowa is the most beautiful in autumn, although Leora and Doris would choose spring! Someone has already been to Perry to try to locate where the Wilsons are buried, so I’ll post these close together so they’re findable. I’m wondering where they can be saved together and easiest to find. It may just be on Pinterest, of all places!
I will make that journey sometime.
Along with your favorite quilt-maker!
I don’t leave home without her!
That’s what I thought!