SIBLEY—A new technological addition is helping Hawkeye Point near Sibley soar to new heights.
Iowa’s highest point may be seen by viewers all over the world thanks to a new live webcam activated in April at the attraction.
The webcam was installed in October in partnership with The Highpointers Foundation, which is dedicated to education, support and conservation of the highest point in each of the 50 states.
Osceola County Economic Development Commission executive director Stephanie Neppl is the vice chair of the Hawkeye Point Foundation Board of Directors.
“It’s great exposure for our high point to have a live webcam,” she said. “We really can’t thank The Highpointers Foundation enough. It was a total partnership. They really helped also finance it.”
The Highpointers Foundation has a goal of having live webcams located at all 50 highest points in the United States. So far, according to its website, the organization has installed webcams at 20 of the highest points across the country.
“It’s cool to look at it during storms, throughout the year and different seasons,” Neppl said. “We have a lot to be proud of. There’s a lot of hard work and time that’s gone into developing the high point.”
Located about five miles north of Sibley on the east side of the Highway 60 expressway, Hawkeye Point is Iowa’s highest natural elevation at 1,670 feet.
In 2008, Osceola County acquired seven acres of Merrill and Donna Sterler’s farm that surrounded what would become the attraction known as Hawkeye Point.
The site has been developed into a popular roadside attraction for travelers from all over the world, with numerous amenities for visitors, many of whom have left old license plates behind from states nationwide.
“From the very beginning, the development of Hawkeye Point has been a volunteer effort,” Neppl said. “Dedicated volunteers have helped complete significant upgrades during the past 11 years. More volunteers are always welcome.”
Hawkeye Point features a Wall of Recognition for supporters, an agricultural museum in a corn crib and a large display of antique farm machinery.
In addition, an observation deck was added to the existing silo, and an informational kiosk and mosaic display are located at the attraction.
A sign inspired by the iconic Iowa painting “American Gothic” allows visitors a unique photo opportunity at Hawkeye Point as do the directional signs that point to each of the 49 other states’ highest points.
The attraction this year will see the addition of donated antique farm machinery. The site’s corn crib will get a new paint job and more trees will be planted.
Hawkeye Point also has been included in the state of Iowa’s “99 Counties, 99 Parks” initiative. A selfie station has been placed near the highest point’s marker so visitors may take selfies and other kinds of photos while visiting the attraction.
“Much of the work at Hawkeye Point has been funded by local grants such as the Osceola County Community Foundation and Lyon County Riverboat Foundation, and through generous Osceola County residents,” Neppl said.
The Hawkeye Point Campground, located just north of the attraction, opened in 2011 and features 12 campsites, 24 picnic tables, a shelter house, a bathhouse, a fire pit and playground equipment. Water was just added to all sites this spring.
Neppl has learned about the history of Hawkeye Point from Mike Earll, the chair of the attraction’s foundation board of directors. She replaced Earll as the Osceola County Economic Development Commission executive director on Jan. 2.
“We’re just happy that every season we can sort of add new things,” Neppl said. “It’s nice to have a webcam that people can actually check in on it because there are a lot of people interested in visiting all the high points in the U.S.”