Archive for Mildred Hach Grimes Tower

PHOTOS from Grimes Farm Run 2017

A selection of images from the Grimes Farm Run, 2017.  Thanks all for a wonderful day!


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A View of the Land She Loved — Mildred’s Tower Dedication

Courtesy of the Marshalltown Times-Republican (30 May, 2010)
“A view of the land she loved.”

Fittingly, those were the words spoken by Marshalltown’s Leonard Grimes at a Saturday morning dedication of the Mildred Hach Grimes Memorial Observation Tower at Marshall County Conservation Board’s GrimesFarm & Conservation Center.

Grimes died in 2006. She was a noted conservationist, educator and environmentalist.

Leonard Grimes, Mildred’s husband of 64 years, read the words from a plaque at the base of the tower which is located on the far west boundary of the property, approximately one-half miles from the Conservation Center.

Mildred's Tower

The plaque, embedded in a large rock, was unveiled by Grimes and State Rep. Mark Smith at the close of the ceremony, which attracted approximately 100 people. Joining them were Leonard and Mildred’s children Carrie Grimes Barr of Marshalltown and Martha Grimes Isaacson of Ames.

Prior to the unveiling, prepared remarks were made by Mike Stegmann, MCCB director, Anita O’Gara of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Smith.

Stegmann said the initial cost of the tower ($130,000) made the staff and board step back and find methods to construct it at less cost.

He cited Alliant Energy for donating and setting the massive wooden corner columns and Consumers Energy who donated the lifting of support columns and beams during construction.

Other cost-saving means were found.

“All of the construction work was done in house,” Stegmann said. “Marty Malloy, our Operations Superintendent and Jeremiah Manken came to us with extensive construction experience and they put that to good use on the tower.”

Stegmann thanked Wells and Associates of West Des Moines who provided design and engineering services free-of-charge.

The tower was completed at a cost of $30,000 according to Barr.

In her remarks O’Gara said the Grimes family has set a great example for others to follow regarding the stewardship of natural resources.

“We have been so pleased to know the Grimes family since 1990,” O’Gara said. “They are a great, great example of the people we work with statewide who have a deep love for the natural resources in the state and they want to find a way to pass on their enthusiasm and make sure the land they love is available so that future generations may enjoy it. We’ve worked on about 800 projects now in the last 30 years, but they stand out as special, enduring relationships. This (the tower) is definitely one of those projects.”

Smith said it was his great honor to have known Mildred and he noted how many of those present had “wonderful experiences with Mildred” through the years.

“And I see some young people, who may have not had the opportunity to know Mildred yetbut as they become familiar with the Nature Center they will know her,” he said. “Having Mildred’s friendship was one of the great hallmarks of my life and today is a day about friendships, friendships with the earth and the living creatures in it. The soil of Iowa was always very important to Mildred and it was important to Mildred that it stay on the hills and valleys in this land we call Iowa.”

Issacson said the tower was important to the family because her mother “had talked about a tower for years and had brought designs to the Conservation Board, telling them that (visitors) needed to be able to see the land and the tower was an ideal way to do that. So, we remember mom talking about it and that is why we are really pleased with it.”

According to material provided by the MCCB, the three tiered structure sits on the highest elevation point of the GrimesFarm. The main viewing platform stands 30 feet above ground level and can accommodate 12 to 15 people. The view to the east overlooks the 160-acre GrimesFarm, purchased by Leonard and Mildred in 1964, the Marshalltown skyline and the Linn Creek Corridor. Westward, the tower overlooks nearby pasture ground and in the distance is flat landscape typical of central Iowa. A clear day allows viewing miles into Story County. The permanent binoculars allow viewers to see clearly for miles in any direction.

“We like to think of this as the high point to her dedication to the environment,” said MCCB board member Jerry Gaffney of Marshalltown.

Located at 2359233 St., the GrimesFarm is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. Conservation Center hours are MF 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon March through November. Contact the MCCB at 641-752-5490 or

–Mike Donahey

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