GRANITE, IOWA (KELO) — We all know tourism is big in South Dakota; it’s one of our leading economic industries, right behind agriculture.

But just across the border into Iowa, there’s a hidden gem; a place that’s not on any tourist map.

If you have ever visited it, you’ll probably want to go back.

Well it was a short lived town, it started in the late 1800’s and during the depression it pretty much folded up,” Darrel Hansen said.

But things are now beginning to unfold in the small town of Granite, Iowa…..where there’s reflection of days gone by.

“It never was a big populated town it was more of a trade town,” Hansen said.

When the town folded following the depression, Darrel Hansen’s dad bought most of the land and any remaining buildings in Granite.

It wasn’t until 1983 when things began to take off again.

One day Hansen, who loves cast iron and antique equipment, bought two old thrashing machines.

He’s always loved watching how the old timers used to thrash grain.

One day he decided he wanted to try out his thrashing machines and give them a whirl.

“So we thrashed over the hill here on a Sunday afternoon, we had a big turnout and people wanted to do it again, so we did it again,” Hansen said.

It became so popular they decided to make it a yearly event and that’s how the Threshing Bee began.

“We put up tents for some shade and then we just started building buildings and moving buildings in and ha ha here we are 40 years later,” Hansen said.

The third weekend in July, people from all over the United States come to see this blast from the past, when life was a little simpler.

This past summer, Hansen couldn’t believe his eyes.

“This year, you know, I don’t quite understand it you’d think after 40 years you get a plateau it just every year more and more you probably couldn’t even of fell down this year there were so many people in here you know,” Hansen said.

Hansen needs a lot of help keeping this tiny town alive.

They now have a board that meets every Thursday for coffee and share ideas.

They also started to enlist members to volunteer to basically do whatever needs to be done.

Gary Griesse, a retired ag teacher from Brandon, is one of them.

“When I retired I got my own little shop and I restore antique farm equipment and tractors I mean it’s a way of life,” Griesse said.

That’s exactly how he feels about Granite, it too is a way of life for those people, who have signed up to keep this town running.

“I’m going to tell you, we got a lot of guys who come down here and donate their time.

A lot of them are retired.

“There are a lot of happy people because of the fact that they have a full purpose and Granite is a full time job if you really want to put yourself out.

“Just a lot of different projects a project comes in everybody jumps in it and gets the job done,’ Griesse said.

While everything here is from days gone by, there is one thing that’s pretty new; the people who come to attend the Threshing Bee.

“We just noticed there were all kinds of people with strollers and young people, which is good because they have to come down here and see this stuff and hopefully at some point in their lives that we plant the seed that they can buy and come back because they have to keep this stuff going, because us old boys ain’t going to be around forever,” Hansen said.

Griesse says it’s a great place for families to come watch the Threshing Bee and have some fun and relax.

This is a safe neat place to have it, park like atmosphere where they are safe and playground equipment what better place can you get and you don’t find that everywhere,” Griesse said.

But you’ll find it here as the sun sets on another tourist town you should never take for granted.

This year they are starting something new for the winter. They are decorating the town in Christmas lights for people to see. They’ll light up the town the Thursday before Christmas and raise money for charity.