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Just south of I-80 in Pottawattamie County is the community of Walnut. The town presents a nearly perfect assemblage of buildings that have come to characterize our mental picture of a small Iowa agricultural town. Iowa 83 runs due south from I-80, and as it enters town and becomes Central Street, the pavement becomes brick. The commercial buildings lining Central Street start abruptly, marking a sharp edge between the town and the surrounding country. Within town, at the northwest corner of Central and Highland streets, is an unlikely building to be encountered in Iowa: a shimmering white Mission Revival bank building straight from the streets of Los Angeles and Southern California. This two-story building, the Walnut State Bank (c. 1916), displays the appropriate Mission Revival ingredients: parapeted gables with arches, accompanied by tile roofs.

An added exotic note in the town is the house (c. 1890) located at 410 Central Street. The roof of this two-story clapboard house has been carried upward to form a peak at each of the two front corners of the dwelling; and each of these peaked second-floor corners has been cantilevered out over the lower floor to emphasize its presence. Part of the siding on this projecting second-floor section has been placed diagonally to mirror the slanted slope of the roof. There are drop finials at the peak of each of the corner roofs, and the roofs' edges exhibit lacy wood bargeboards.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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