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Sturm und Drang


Eight or nine miles west of Agincourt on the way toward Sioux City, the Northwest Iowa Traction Co. ran a spur line to the resort community along the shores of Lake Sturm und Drang. Technically they are two lakes, but after a large rain the high water covers a sand  bar separating them and unifies the two bodies of water into a single lake. Its Germanic name is calculated to conjure their appearance in both fall and spring, when winds roil the waters into a grey-blue froth and fishing boats cling to the nearest dock. Not a lake for the faint of heart. Artist Gregory Arnett may have captured Sturm und Drang’s character better than anyone.

Sturm und Drang is a phrase usually translated from the German as “storm and stress,” which puts this lake into a completely different category from those placid puddles in northern Iowa or central Minnesota. The many resorts along its southern and western shores attract a difference sort; hardly the summer people of water skiing and sun bathing. If you’re looking for an aquatic counterpart, try the rock-bound coast of Maine.


Gregory Arnett, “Early Winter Evening” (2010; oil on birch panel)

Moody’s Resort has been serving the manic-depressive summer community for more than seventy-five years and may be best known for an art colony that congregated there from the 1920s into the World War II years, holding an annual exhibit and sale at Agincourt’s Tennant Memorial Gallery.

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