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The Freedom Rock, Menlo

#150 of 687 in Things to do in Iowa
Must see · Landmark · Tourist Spot
The Freedom Rock (also known as the Patriotic Rock) is a 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) boulder located along Iowa Highway 25 near Menlo in western Iowa approximately one mile (1.6 km) south of exit 86 on Interstate 80. The boulder weighs approximately 56 short tons (51 t; 50 long tons).
The rock is located on private property and was used for graffiti. Since 1999, however, it is repainted every year in time for Memorial Day with the purpose of thanking U.S. veterans and their families for their military service and sacrifice. The rock is painted by Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II from Greenfield. Sorensen is not commissioned or paid to paint The Freedom Rock, he uses his own money along with donations and sales of Freedom Rock merchandise to fund the project.
In the Spring of 2013, Sorensen began The Iowa Freedom Rock Tour by painting a Freedom Rock (patriotic themed rock) in every county in Iowa at a cost of US$5,000 plus lodging & supplies per rock, creating a unique statewide veterans memorial for the state. The rocks placed in each county will not be repainted every year. He expected to take ten years to complete the painting of a freedom rock in each of Iowa's 99 counties, but in a 2016 update interview during only his fourth year of his Iowa tour, he expects to complete the Iowa tour in seven or eight years and has only ten more counties in Iowa to book. As he completes the last four years of his Iowa tour, he will begin a nationwide 50 state tour. He plans to paint some freedom rocks of the 50 state tour in warmer places than Iowa during December, January, and February, starting with Alabama in the winter of 2016–7. On October 27, 2016, the Greene County's Freedom Rock which is located in front of the grain elevator in Jefferson became the 55th rock he has painted in Iowa.
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57 reviews
  • did a motorcycle trip to visit as many rocks as we could in a weekend. They are fabulous. Makes you proud to be an American. Highly recommend doing this.  more »
  • Short drive off interstate but worth the small diversion. tributes to various generations - very interesting artwork  more »
  • Great spot to honor Visiting Military, Veterans, and Retirees like myself. The artist should be praised for his effort and skill in bringing a bit of Military History with a eye for combining different elements into a message and honor.
  • The painted detail on this rock by the artist is nothing short than stunning !!! I guess he paints this rock a different theme frequently and his work is superb ! On a nearby telephone pole, people have left small items and mementos to honor our veterans. It is worth the drive.

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