Changes on the Land
Whether tornadoes, floods, drought, or blizzards, extreme weather affects those on the ground in different ways depending on the use to which land has been put. In a flood-prone place endowed with rivers, erosion is always a threat; tornadoes that strike an area of built structures produce more destruction than those that sped across a prairie.
A 1974 Survey of Rural Landscapes in Iowa speaks to another sort of transformation of the land in the late twentieth-century and in the twenty-first: the loss of historic farmsteads and houses. The plots of ground once claimed by settlers through use of their veteran status, or the Homestead Act, or the Swamp Act, or even the Timber Act were being abandoned one hundred plus years later. A combination of economic forces and weather challenges and family desires could take their toll. The result has been fewer eyes on the land and towns to watch over them, to attend to their transformation at the hands of humans and extreme weather too.
Wright County was part of a survey conducted in 1974 at the behest of the Division of Historic Preservation, State Historical Department of Iowa, an effort to retain historic buildings. Current residents of the county may recognize the location on the map where a historic house stood in their county in 1974 and know of other historic buildings that still stand or were lost across the decades.
Source: SHSI: Iowa Series: Viewing the Rural Landscape, March 6, 1974.