Editors note: Today we launch Off the Map. Each week we will literally throw a dart at a map of Eastern Iowa. Where the dart lands, we’ll head in search of a story. We hope to discover and share stories of people and places we might not ordinarily take note of, but who make our communities special.
LANGWORTHY — A bright cherry red barn greets visitors as they turn off Highway 151 and enter Langworthy, an unincorporated community in Jones County about 32 miles northeast of Cedar Rapids.
According to Gazette archives, the community was platted in 1858.
The post office here closed in 2002, but the community retains its own ZIP code: 52252. Along the small lanes you will find a smattering of homes and farmland.
Here, the sense of neighborhood remains strong, says Aaron Thomas, 48, who has lived in Langworthy since 2005.
“We just like the house and how it was kind of country but not country and town but not town,” Thomas said of his family’s decision to move here.
Thomas, who previously was an attorney and is looking for a new job, said his family loves the neighbors, particularly the ones who live to the north.
“They’re both retired now. They’re just really good neighbors and kind of treat our kids like their own grandchildren,” Thomas said. “They’re really what keeps us here. We’re never going to find neighbors like Bob and Sandy.”
He and ex-wife Dina Thomas, director of nursing at Above and Beyond Home Health and Hospice in Monticello, have chosen to keep living together with their children, Owen, 10, Grant, 6, and Quinn, 5. They also have a large black Great Dane named Jake, two cats, a rabbit and two guinea pigs.
Thomas said he knows his living arrangement is unusual.
“I was a lawyer and I handled a lot of divorces,” Thomas said. “I saw how ugly it could be and I didn’t want it to be that ugly.”
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