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It's a History Mystery
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It's a History Mystery

Iowa has a lot of famous and interesting people who got their start in small rural towns before making it big. But a lot of the people of the past don’t come up in regular café conversation and aren’t mentioned in our school textbooks – a real shame considering how unique and fascinating their lives were.

This summer, for ten weeks (July 16th – September 27th), Iowa Valley RC&D invites you to participate in the Tama Town Mystery for a chance to learn about one fascinating person from the past who shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Tama Town Mystery takes place along the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway and will have participants traveling to the four Tama County towns of Montour, Tama, Toledo, and Chelsea. There are ten clues to find, each one posted in a different town business. The mystery is solved when the participant can identify the mystery person. Event organizer and Iowa Valley Scenic Byway Coordinator Dora Bopp says the clues aren’t too easy. “With the internet just a smart phone away we were careful to craft each clue so that alone it wouldn’t be enough information, but together the set of ten clues make it possible to solve.” Although, she adds, “some very good detectives may be able to solve the mystery in only a few clues. We’ll see.”

Participants who solve the mystery should submit their answer and contact information for a chance to win one of three $50 cash prizes and an overnight murder mystery package at Chelsea’s Periwinkle Place Manor. Bopp says that the mystery alone is worth the driving and sleuthing, but a benefit is also getting a chance to explore four small Iowa towns, the scenic byway, and a summer Iowa landscape.

The Ten Clue Locations:

  1. Rube’s Meat Shop – 200 Elm Street 
  2. Montour Shoestring Garden – 205 Business Hwy 30
  3. Toledo Fuzz’s Sports Pub – 201 W. High St.
  4. Toledo Butter Cow Ice Cream – 105 Hwy 30
  5. Toledo Meskwaki Travel Plaza – 1494 Hwy 30
  6. Tama Fleur de lis – 127 W. 3rd Street
  7. Tama King Tower Café – 1701 E. 5th Street,
  8. Tama John Ernest Vineyard & Winery – 3291 North Avenue.
  9. Tama Silver Dollar Bar & Grill – 705 Station Street.
  10. Chelsea Artique Boutique – 508 Station Street, Chelsea

Each of the ten participating businesses have a larger poster hung inside the establishment. Each poster has a clue about this famous person. You can read the clues in any order. There is no purchase necessary to participate. (You just need a notebook to record the clues as you find them and then do some sleuthing.) Once the mystery has been solved, the answer and contact information can be emailed to Iowa Valley Scenic Byway Coordinator Dora Bopp at by Sun. Sept. 27th to be entered into the drawing. Four winners will be selected on Sept. 28th for three $50 cash prizes and an overnight murder mystery package for two at Periwinkle Place Manor. Only one entry per person. The murder mystery package for two includes a four-course meal, murder mystery, after party with music, overnight stay and breakfast.

Thank you participating Tama County businesses and Tama County Community Foundation for generously providing funds for this project. For additional information contact Dora Bopp at or 319.622.3264.



Post written by Jessica Rilling, Executive Director, Iowa Valley RC&D.

Dora Bopp is the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway Coordinator for the Iowa Valley RC&D. Dora’s educational accomplishments include: AAS Parks & Natural Resources, Kirkwood Community College; BAS Management, Mount Mercy University and is currently working toward her Masters of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition.

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  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    Thanks for sharing this great information with us! We pinned it on Pinterest
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