The very first time I visited Orange City, Iowa was in the middle of winter. In fact, 8 am on a Sunday morning and snowflakes were flying ferociously. Not exactly high tourist season. In fact, early Sunday mornings are generally very quiet in Orange City, but the added snowstorm really kept the crowd to a minimum.
I parked on the perimeter of Windmill Square and started my trek into the park. There’s a collection of six miniature windmills that are well labeled to tell you about the styles and history of windmills.
Location: Windmill Square in Orange City, Iowa
I also walked over to the flower beds, which were getting layered with a fresh coating of snow. I would have to return in the spring sometime to actually see the Orange City tulips to give me a chance to compare them to the Pella tulips that I’ve seen many times.
Leaving the park, I came out at the intersection of 2nd and Central Avenue where there’s a larger windmill set up as a tourist information booth. Across the street is the city’s most prominent mural with building tall tulips blazing with color against the dotted sky of falling snowflakes. The mural was created by artists Mark Alsum and Zach Maxon in 2011.
A short distance south down Central Avenue, you’ll come across the most uniquely paired storefronts: Woudstra Meat Market and Radio Shack. The meat market is everything you would expect in a small dutch town – but for me, its neighboring Radio Shack that catches your attention. With its Dutch storefront facade, it still begs the question “ I thought all Radio Shacks were closed?” But apparently, not. At least not in Orange City, Iowa.
My favorite public payphone in Iowa
As you walk south, you’ll also notice a windmill-shaped telephone booth. I pushed the doors open, stepped inside, picked up the receiver – and sure enough. Dial tone. It’s a working telephone booth shaped like a windmill. How cool is that? It’s located at the intersection of 1st St NW and Central Avenue.
Sioux County Courthouse
About another block south, I encountered the Sioux County Courthouse. The original courthouse for Sioux County was in the town of Calliope. But apparently, there was an ongoing dispute with Orange City. Eventually, a group from Orange City raided the log cabin courthouse in Calliope and moved the records to their town. An election finally moved the county seat to Orange City and after a bond passage, construction started on what is now the current courthouse. It’s built from red and buff-colored sandstone. In 1907, the top of the courthouse was wiped out by a lightning strike. A 10-foot bronze statue of Lady Justice then replaced the top and it still stands there today.
When I was done at the courthouse, I decided to walk back north on Central Avenue, back the same exact path. When I went back to the car, I then traded out the camera from the drone, to capture a few aerial photos of Orange City.