For one reason or another, I found myself in south eastern Iowa yesterday. Specifically, I was in Van Buren County close to the state's border with Missouri. I hasten to add that I was not there physically, only virtually courtesy of Mama Internet.
I landed in a small town by the Des Moines River. It's called Bonaparte and has a population of some 430 people. It got its odd name because one of the first white settlers - an entrepreneur called William Meek was a fan of the famous French emperor.
Meek developed a successful flour mill and later the little riverside settlement became a pottery centre too. A one lane bridge was built across the river in 1882. William Meeks had dreamt of another town being developed on the southern bank. It would be called Napoleon but that dream never came true.
Today Bonaparte seems like a sleepy place. I checked it out courtesy of Google Streetview which is the cheapest way to travel. Unfortunately, not all of Bonaparte's streets are covered with the usual imagery. Perhaps Google could not be bothered with the town, instructing the driver of the Streetview camera vehicle to keep going.