Reading Dorothy Schwieder’s Iowa: the Middle Land for background on Boe’s childhood years in Silver Lake, parish service in Winneshiek County, presidency of Waldorf College, and legislative career.  In the preface she quotes Laurence Lafore:  “The land is very beautiful, and the special quality of its beauty is coherence and order.”  Her own presentation emphasizes its location  in the middle of the nation, a transitional landscape between the more wooded areas to the east and the great plains to the west, and suggests a general character that is not given to excess.

Her treatment of railroad development is of particular interest.  Hetle’s biography includes an amusing anecdote about Boe’s travel via railroad to supply preach. Train travel was also important during his later career in Minnesota, when he was careful to chose routes on lines that gave free passes to clergy.  Schwieder notes that by the 1880s the claim was made that no Iowan lived more than eight miles from a railroad! This map from 1948 indicates the extent of the network.