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“Poke Around The County”

By Staff | Jun 26, 2008

Most area residents probably don’t know that, years ago, there used to be more than 100 schools located throughout Palo Alto County. On Friday, July 4, people will have the opportunity to visit the sites of 22 of those former country schools, as well as landmarks in each of Palo Alto County’s ten communities.

“What started out as an idea for a poker run has become ‘Poke Around the County’,” said Mark Walsh, who is coordinating the event with his wife, Deb, as members of the Palo Alto County Sesquicentennial Events Committee.

Participants may pick up a map before heading out on the pre-determined route that will take them through Emmetsburg, Ruthven, Graettinger, Depew, Cylinder, Rodman, West Bend, Mallard, Curlew, and Ayrshire.

“People can drive their vehicles-whether that might be cars, trucks, or motorcycles-on the 109-mile round-trip that takes them past sites of now non-existent county towns, former sites of schools, churches, and cemeteries, and current county landmarks,” explained Deb Walsh.

Refreshments will be served at many of the locations. Maps can be picked up at the following businesses after Monday, June 30: Emmetsburg – Chamber of Commerce Office entryway, Food Pride, and Fareway; Ruthven – Lakeland EZ Shoppe; Graettinger – Country Store, Drive-Up, and the Market; Cylinder – Rack Shack; West Bend – Kampen Foods, Cenex, and Casey’s; Mallard – Duck Stop and Sparky’s; Curlew – Post Office; and Ayrshire – Blue Moon II, Kwik Stop, and City Hall.

You may travel the route on your own or join a group that will meet at the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce office at 1121 Broadway, Emmetsburg at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 4.

For more information about the “Poke Around the County,” contact Deb or Mark Walsh at 712-852-