Add to My MSN

Magic Carpets Made of Steel

1/7/2008 6:01:55 PM

Tags: National Hobo Convention, High Times, hobo culture, trains

Nestled in a cornfield, deep in the heart of Iowa, the Hobo King presides over his court of tramps in an ancient ceremony dedicated to America’s rusty rail-horses and the even rustier men and women who ride them. It's the annual National Hobo Convention, which has been held in Britt, Iowa, for over a century. Before that, the convention popped up in cornfields and junkyards throughout the country, as ephemeral as its attendants, dating back almost to the Civil War. Chris Simunek documents the ritual in his article for High Times (excerpt only available online), and his credentials as a writer for the elite stoner mag are the only reason he’s given access to the Hobo King’s shadowy world. The story unfolds through the smoke of campfires and reefer—bringing to life the denizens of America’s oldest counterculture and their father’s magic carpets made of steel.

Morgan Winters



Related Content

Building Immigrant Justice

How arts and organizing helped defeat Alabama's anti-immigrant law.

Come for the Magic, Stay for the Sermon

Christians are trying a new tactic to pack pews: magic. That's right, pick-a-card, nothing-up-my-sle...

What’s Our Dam Problem?

We’ve learned, time and time again, that damming rivers causes all sorts of problems for both nature...

Trappist Brews: An Alcoholic Apotheosis

Add some holy to your spirits by enjoying "living" beer made by religious clergy....

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Cat Nickerson
1/10/2008 8:17:17 PM
Though the song is about the dissapearing American railways, it was on my mind as I rode the railway in the highlands of Sri Lanka. Families sang, teens were drumming and everyone whoooooood with the train whistle as we entered the tunnels. The trains were the old British model, but in good condition.

Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!