Not a Ghost Town to Them: Iowa Couple Waits to Move Back Home


BARTLETT, IOWA — The corn and soybean crop is being planted in dry soil around the southwest Iowa town of Bartlett this Spring … a much different scene than two years ago. In March 2019 the small town was swallowed by the flooded Missouri River, sending residents racing out of town – many for the last time.

But not Roger and Trina Peterson.

“Thursday night we left town,” Roger remembers of the day the flood water forced them out, “(We) got what we could get our truck, our two animals and a few personal items then left.” That was the last time the Petersen’s would call that house a home. Now they’re back in town, waiting to finally stop moving.

After the flooding forced the town to evacuate, the Petersens moved to a mobile home park in Omaha. They say police were a constant presence at neighboring homes and they couldn’t wait to find someone safer to call home. The Petersens found that home – on wheels.

The couple is now living in Bartlett once again, staying in a camper until they can close on a home in the city and move what they still own in. There isn’t much of the town left – the railroad still passes by and a salvage yard is the only local business still open – but the Petersens don’t mind.

“Love to be in Barlett,” says Trina Peterson – soaking in the Spring sunshine – “where you have your birds, and nature.”

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