[Graphic] Click here to go directly to the content of this page[graphic] Welcome to Hardin County, Iowa[graphic] Arrowhead that is a link to the National Park Service website
[photo] Princess Cafe sign
[graphic] Link to Hardin County Homepage

[graphic] Link to List of Sites
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[graphic] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary

Text-Only Version

Please note that this text-only version, provided for ease of printing and reading, includes approximately 50 pages and may take up to 15 minutes to print. By clicking on one of these links, you may go directly to a particular text-only section:

Welcome Letter
Essay on Settlement
Essay on Transportation
Essay on Agriculture
Essay on Preservation
List of Sites
Begin the Tour
Learn More


The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Hardin County Community Development Council, Hardin County Historic Preservation Commission, Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission, Ackley Historic Preservation Commission, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, Iowa State Historical Society, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) invite you to explore the proud agricultural history of Hardin County, Iowa. Located in the center of the state, the county was settled in the 1850s shortly after Iowa acquired statehood. The rural landscape is characterized by fertile farmland fed by the Iowa River, clusters of agricultural building, and small towns and communities rich with history. This latest National Register of Historic Places travel itinerary highlights 27 historic places--barns, civic buildings, churches, railroad depots, schools and libraries--that depict the history of the county, the "Heart of the Heartland."

In 1853, Eldora was the first town platted in Hardin County and today it is the county seat and location of the impressive Hardin County Courthouse. The county grew with the coming of the railroad, when national and international markets became easily accessible. The county's farms prospered, and many agricultural buildings were constructed such as the innovative Slayton Farms--Round Barn. Agricultural products got to market from many depots throughout the county, including the 1902 Iowa Falls Union Depot and the 1926 Illinois Central Combination Depot in Ackley. Entertainment played a part in the development of the county at places such as the Estes Park Band Shell, Princess--Sweet Shop, and the stunning 1899 Metropolitan Opera House. The importance of education to Hardin County residents is reflected in the stately Edgewood School of Domestic Arts, the 1936 New Providence School Gymnasium built by the Public Works Administration, and several Carnegie libraries such as those found in Alden, Iowa Falls, and Eldora. The entrepreneurial spirit of the mid-west is represented by successful commercial buildings such as the Ellsworth-Jones Building and Sentinel Block. Historic St. Matthew's by the Bridge Episcopal Church and Honey Creek Friends' Meetinghouse are testament to the important role played by religion throughout the county.

Hardin County, Iowa, offers several ways to discover the historic places that played important roles in the county's past. Each highlighted property features a brief description of the place's significance, color and, where available, historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to four essays that explain more about Hardin County Settlement, Transportation, Agriculture, and Preservation and Conservation. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Hardin County, Iowa, in person.

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Hardin County Community Development Council, Hardin County Historic Preservation Commission, Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission, Ackley Historic Preservation Commission, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, Iowa State Historical Society, and NCSHPO, Hardin County, Iowa, is an example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of the country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, lodging and dining possibilities as well as histories of the region, should they want to explore further.

Hardin County, Iowa is the 12th of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places, Hardin County Community Development Council, Hardin County Historic Preservation Commission, Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission, Ackley Historic Preservation Commission, and the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Hardin County's historic places. If you have comments or questions please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.


Governor's Welcome

Dear Visitor:

Welcome to Hardin County, Iowa. You have discovered a place of history, where people are in touch with their cultural and the natural resources.

When you come to Hardin County, you will be coming to the western entrance to the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, a living landscape of communities, people and resources.

Here you will find some of the richest soils in the world along the pristine Iowa River. You can canoe the entire length of the county. Or, you can enjoy a scenic drive along the river, traveling through our unique towns, taking in the historic architecture and ethnic heritage that have shaped our communities and our people. As you travel through the rural agricultural landscape, you can imagine the stories of the generations of families who have cultivated the land and created wonderful architectural structures like barns and silos.

It is peaceful and quiet here, which allows you to appreciate the magnificence of the land, and the beauty of the scenery.

Take your time when you visit. There are many lodging and camping opportunities. Hardin County is easily accessed by Interstate 35 or the newly completed U.S. Highway 20.

Historic Hardin County is the Heart of the Heartland.

We are proud of our state and we'd love to share it with you.


Thomas J. Vilsack

Sally J. Pederson
Lt. Governor


With the rapid development of the American west in the 1800s, the state of Iowa became not only a resting stop but also a stopping place for many wagon trains carrying western settlers. Prior to European exploration, these lands were home to numerous American Indian tribes including the Sioux, Potawatomi, Winnebago and Iowa, after which the state is named. The French lay claim to this area as early as 1673, but the first European settler did not arrive here until more than a century later. The United States obtained the land as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

Early western pioneers traveled west both by land and river. Possible land routes included Forbe's Road, the most important link between New England and the Ohio Valley, as well as the first national highway later known as the National Road (now U.S. Route 40). Begun in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1806, the planned route was intended to stretch to St. Louis, Missouri. Due to a national financial crisis in 1837, the terminus became Vandalia, Illinois--the state capital--but the National Road succeeded in bringing many settlers to Indiana and Illinois. The Ohio River was an important river route, while the Great Lakes were advantageous for passage from the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and Canada. These pioneers arrived in Green Bay, Wisconsin, or Chicago, Illinois, where they could secure teams of wagons for the overland route--a trip that took from six to eight days, with fares ranging from six to 25 dollars.

The lands that are now Eastern Iowa, bordered by the Mississippi River, remained under the control of the Sac and Fox tribes until the 1830s, which prohibited European settlement. In 1832, after years of resisting removal, these tribes engaged in Black Hawk's War (lead by their war chief), were quickly defeated and shortly thereafter sold their land rights to the United States. By 1833 all great avenues of immigration were open to Iowa. Two decades later, by the time the United States negotiated with the Dakota Sioux for the rest of Iowa in 1851, the state was predominately home to white settlers. Population growth in Iowa was phenomenal, and the territory was alive with people who wanted to claim land and build homes. Statehood was granted to the territory by 1846.

Prior to 1836, wagon trains hoping to cross the Mississippi from Illinois were only able to do so at Buffalo, Dubuque, and Burlington. By 1860, 17 other ferry locations were established to meet the demand. Early settlement in the upper Iowa River basin was strongly influenced by the existing watercourses. Timber along the streams was usually claimed in preference to the prairie land. It was easier to cut down and clear trees than it was to break through the tough prairie sod with primitive tools. These wooded areas were also a natural source for fuel and building materials for cabins and fences. Many mills were established with villages sited nearby. Mills were vital to these mid-19th-century agricultural settlements.

The following generalization helps illustrate what an early rural farmstead in Iowa was like:

"after the first decade or two of "pioneering," a general type of farming may be observed. The average farm was a combination of prairie and small patches of woodland. The farmer planted corn, wheat, oats and a few other small grains. He raised pigs, a few cattle of doubtful lineage, and some sheep; his work cattle consisted of a yoke or two of slow footed oxen or several nondescript horses. His farm buildings left much to be desired. By the 1860's he may have planted a small orchard, and he had a number of the latest agricultural implements - - steel plows, reapers, mowers, corn shellers, and, in some cases, a few planting tools. In fact, his machinery was well in advance of his methods which were usually those of his father and grandfather. His farm, in spite of careless cultivation, produced a large surplus which he sold at the nearest town" [Throne, Mildred, "Book Farming" in Iowa, 1840-1870," Patterns and Perspectives in Iowa History: Ames, Iowa; Iowa State University Press, 1974]

Shortly after Iowa acquired statehood, Hardin County was created by an act of the General Assembly on January 15, 1851. The county was named in honor of Colonel John J. Hardin, a prominent leader in the Black Hawk War who was later killed in the Mexican War. The first settler to arrive in the area is believed to have been Greenbury Haggin. Haggin had arrived in Iowa from Kentucky in 1849 and built a log cabin on the Iowa River in Union Township that fall. One year later Jacob Kidwilder and his family settled in Section 2, Jackson Township, along with friends Adam Crim and Francis Mitchell. Also in 1850, a third settlement was established in what is now Eldora, the county seat. In February 1851, B. I. Talbot, Nathan Townsend, and John Caldwell settled in the vicinity of Iowa Falls. That same year several members of the Society of Friends settled along Honey Creek, in Providence Township, and later established the town of New Providence and the Honey Creek Friends' Meetinghouse. Another Quaker settlement was located just east of Iowa Falls along the river, and Iowa Falls itself was home to a significant Quaker population.

One challenge to early settlement of the area was the lack of timber resources away from the river. Initially, only 10 percent of the county was timbered, and became quickly depleted by lumbering. When the county was established in 1851, it contained fewer than a dozen families. However, after 1852 settlers moved in rapidly, mostly coming up the Iowa River from Marshall County. In 1852 a small amount of gold was discovered in the shoals of the Iowa River a few miles north of Eldora and for a brief time there were 500 to 1000 people camped in tents and wagons between Eldora and Steamboat Rock. Settlers were so busy panning for gold that they forgot about their farms and little was accomplished that year.

In July of 1853, Eldora became the first town platted in the county, and the first frame building in Hardin County was constructed there in December of that year. The abundance of good building stone further up the river was a factor in the development of Rocksylvania, and later Iowa Falls. Rocksylvania was platted in November of 1854 by Benjamin Talbot, over numerous objections to the name.

Like other areas of the state, mills were the focal point of the small agricultural settlements, and prior to 1860 most roads in the county lead to a mill. In 1856 a steam mill was built and that same year Iowa Falls was platted a short way up river. The vertical drop of the river as it passed through the county was even greater than that of Niagara Falls, and was a natural source for water powered mills.

Also in 1856, the government decided to establish a mail route between Cedar Falls and Fort Dodge, necessitating a postal highway through either Hardin City or Iowa Falls. Anxious lot holders from Iowa Falls persuaded station agent T. L. Chesney to choose their town by promising the use of their homes to board travelers. Iowa Falls grew quickly after that and absorbed Rocksylvania, which is now within the city limits.

By 1860, nearly all land in Hardin County had been purchased. Most settlers continued to migrate from the east; census records show that the largest number of settlers in the county had been born in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. Foreign emigrants came from Ireland, Canada and England, although Germans from East Fries Land (northern Germany) were the predominate ethnic group migrating to the area from the post-Civil War period until the 1940s. By 1865, the stagecoach and regular mail routes were established in the county and the railroad was not far behind. The growth of towns and farm productivity were closely related, and much effort was being expended to attract new merchants and farmers to particular localities. Many more towns were platted than were actually settled--paper towns such as New Berlin, Poseyville, and Georgeton existed only on paper. The towns that ultimately prospered in Hardin County were those connected to national and international markets via the railroad. It was during this time that the cribbed grain elevator became a sentinel over the Iowa landscape, drawing the local and regional harvest of grain to be held until shuttled to a larger transshipment point.


Mills were vitally important to the agriculturally oriented settlements first established in Hardin County during the mid-19th century. Wheat was the chief agricultural product grown; flour was ground for domestic food use and for sale to new immigrants and other markets. Almost all roads in Hardin County before 1860 led to mill sites. Oxen and horse drawn wagons were the primary means of reliable transportation in the settlement era. The first stagecoach lines came to Hardin with the development of roads, which provided a more regular transportation and mail service.

Canoes, piroques, flatboats, keelboats, and even a few paddle wheel steamboats in the lower Iowa River Valley provided substantial river traffic in the 19th century. While it was recognized that mill dams and bridges needed to be built, the major navigable rivers were avoided for these purposes, and settlements were often sited close to the mill locations.

During the Civil War, growth and immigration to Iowa slowed, but the post-war period was witness to significant expansion of the stage coach and wagon roads, railroad lines and bridges. Angling territorial roads followed Indian trails or connected towns and farms to mills. However, in increasing numbers, section line county roads were laid out according to the legal township and range pattern superimposed upon Iowa by the government land surveys. This grid pattern on the landscape has strongly influenced farmstead location and field placement over time. With road access, new farms could be located well out on the prairie with square fields oriented along quarter section lines. Likewise, churches and public schools could also be located at convenient sites on the grid.

The towns that ultimately prospered in the county were connected to national and international markets via the railroad. Hardin County was not among the fortunate sections of Iowa that had a railway line connected to its early settlements. For many years, produce was hauled to market by wagon teams to Marshalltown or Cedar Falls, or some even more remote point. Ackley was constructed as the terminus of the Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad in 1865, and as such briefly became an essential shipping and receiving center for farm commodities and manufactured goods. Ackley was platted in 1857 in anticipation of a rail line but remained a paper town until 1865. The line to Iowa Falls was completed in the spring of 1866, which remained its western terminus for two more years. Historical accounts of the arrival of the railroad to small rail towns depict an atmosphere that is nothing short of riotous with railroad workers, weekend farmers, and disreputable sorts mingling in late night debauchery. In 1868 the Iowa Falls and Sioux City Railroad Company completed the line to Sioux City, thus connecting all Iowa from the east to the west. In 1870 this line was leased to the Illinois Central Railroad.

As in the Des Moines Valley, coal mining played a significant economic role in Hardin County. Local economic growth spurts were the result of prosperous mines in the upper Iowa Valley outside Eldora in 1868 and near Hubbard in the 1880s. Markets for the coal were made accessible by the construction of the Eldora Railroad and Coal Company, which later became the Central Railroad of Iowa (1869-1879), and finally the Central Iowa Railway Company. In addition to coal, building stone and clay deposits provided natural local products important to the economy. These were obtained at various places, primarily along the Iowa River. The high-grade limestone is still mined today in Alden.

Other rail lines were connected throughout Hardin County by the 1880s. In 1881 the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad crossed the lower half of Hardin County, and the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway (BCR&N) was brought through Iowa Falls. The BCR&N heralded progress for Iowa Falls as the town became both a freight and bridge division on the road, and a 10-stall round house was built (no longer standing). E. S. Ellsworth, a prominent Hardin County businessman, built the Short Line Railway, or the Des Moines, Iowa Falls and Northern, which connected Iowa Falls to Des Moines and later Mason City. There had been a dire need for a connection to the state capital for many years, and in 1903 the Short Line became part of the Rock Island system. This was the last railroad constructed in Hardin County. Railroad passenger service continued until the 1960s.

Most of Iowa's roads in the last half of the 19th century were created by township trustees who graded ditches and did some dragging of the roadway bed to form primitive grade. During this time period, few roads were graded, plans were seldom prepared in advance of work and estimates of costs were unheard of. Distances were measured by "stepping off" or "wagon loads." By 1900 Iowa had 104,000 miles of road open to travel--all rural mileage was dirt. Twenty miles of travel was a long journey for a farm team and wagon. The development of the road and highway system followed with the development of the motor vehicle.

In 1904 the Iowa Highway Commission was established by the legislature, which became the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) in 1975. In 1919 the state legislature envisioned a state road system of approximately 6,400 miles of hard-surfaced roads distributed among the 99 counties--officially known as the "Primary Road System." These paved roadways were especially necessary in Iowa because when it rained Iowa's rich soil became a quagmire and the state became an island of mud. Iowa's road conditions developed a national reputation that caused interstate travelers to avoid the state. The 1924 edition of the Official Road Guide to the Lincoln Highway warned "It's a folly to drive on Iowa dirt roads, during or immediately after a heavy rain. Time will not be saved by attempting it."

Hardin County's road development paralleled that of the rest of the state, with the development of a Primary and Secondary system. State Highways 65 and 20 were built in the 1930s and helped many towns along the route to keep growing. As railroad passenger traffic dwindled, highways became the preferred travel routes. Many automobile-oriented businesses were established to cater to both the car and driver. The main north/south route through Iowa, Interstate 35, is located just to the west of the Hardin County line. The new Highway 520 (re-aligned 20) bisects the middle of the county from east to west, and is a model for transportation projects that carefully consider environmental impacts. Of particular interest is the unique bridge that carries this highway over the environmentally sensitive Iowa River Greenbelt.

A scenic Hardin County drive follows the Iowa River from Alden south to Eldora with camping, picnicking and canoe launch opportunities along the way. This route, from the south western to the north central part of the county, will soon be designated as Iowa's first Scenic and Heritage By-way. It follows the old "Glacier" or "Billy Goat Highway," which originally stretched from St. Louis to Glacier Park in Montana. Many loop tours to the different towns in the county can be accessed from this route.


The dictionary defines agriculture as: The science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops and raising livestock. Agriculture has been the dominate industry in Hardin County since it was established in the mid-19th century, although it has evolved and changed over time.

The earliest farms were of a subsistence nature, feeding the immediate family. By 1860, 11 mill sites were located on the Iowa River in Hardin County. These early mills processed wheat into flour. Wheat was the chief agricultural product grown; flour was ground for vital domestic food use and for sale to new immigrants and other markets.

After the 1850s, it became increasingly apparent to Iowa farmers that more money could be made from corn and other feed grains grown for livestock consumption than that grown for human consumption. The cost of shipping grain to the east was prohibitive, but cheap Iowa corn could be fed to hogs and cattle, which in turn were sold at nearby markets. This shift in farming created a new demand for storing large amounts of grain at the farm site, which resulted in the development of the corn crib. On some farms, the corn crib was even larger than the barn.

The Civil War created a lull in Iowa's growth and immigration, but the period after the war saw a significant land use change in the expansion of railroads, stagecoach and wagon roads and bridges. Section line county roads were increasingly laid out according to the legal township and range pattern superimposed upon Iowa by the national government land surveys. This grid pattern on the landscape has greatly influenced farmstead location and field placement over time.

By the late 19th century, the conversion from wheat to predominantly corn and livestock production was nearly complete, and grain elevators on county roads and rail lines rapidly replaced gristmills along the river. These storage and shipping points have evolved into multimillion bushel storage silo facilities. These silos are now affectionately known as the "Prairie Sentinels."

Increased mechanization had a profound effect on farming in Hardin County. The first machines adopted were gas and steam powered engines--used as stationary and mobile power sources for the many chores around the farm. Tractors and motorized harvesting equipment were introduced next. Early tractors were steam powered goliath machines, followed later by gasoline and then diesel propelled models. These tractors expanded the field work capabilities of the farmer. What started as the single blade plow pulled by oxen and horse has evolved into 12 row implements towed behind gigantic turbo-charged tractors with hundreds of horsepower. This mechanization of agriculture was completed around 1970.

Another important aspect of the agricultural industry is livestock. This too has experienced major changes over time. In the state's early history, every farm had at least one milk cow, a dozen hogs and several chickens. Today most cattle, swine and poultry are concentrated at a few large industrial operations. The operations consist of large stand-alone buildings, in contrast to the traditional cluster of farm buildings. In fact the size of the barn was often determined by the livestock number, thus dictating the required hay storage as animal shelter is necessary for the Iowa winters. That need is no longer.

Iowa's barns continue to stand as emblems of prosperity of past eras as well as the continual changes in agriculture. The barn was the initial center of the agricultural operation before this building became obsolete with the adoption of machines that could perform the same jobs previously done by farm animals. Many barns now suffer from a lack of maintenance, demolition or loss due to wind or fire. From 1830 to 1920, there were an estimated 100,000 barns built in Iowa, 180 of which were round or multisided. Less than half of these barns survive today, and more are being lost at a rate of 1,000 per year. Many concerned citizens are now striving to save and protect those that remain, so that future generations and visitors to the state can experience this era of Iowa history.

The use of hybrid seed for commercial production is recognized to be an Iowan's invention through the Wallace family and what is now the Pioneer Seed Company. The idea of purchasing seed rather than using seed carefully sorted from previous year's production changed agronomic agriculture. The earliest seed company in Hardin County was located in Ackley, which is also the location of one of the nation's largest canning facilities. For years this area has been the sweet corn capital of Iowa. The technology of biogenetics for resistance and other production and processing traits makes the requirement of planting commercial varieties nearly mandatory.

The importance of soil fertility and its impact on farming is well documented. Fertilization of the soils has moved from animal wastes to commercial fertilizers and has arrived at a blend of the two. Where large-scale livestock operations exist, huge tracts of cropland are covered with manure to aid in the plant production. Where those are not readily available, commercial fertilizers are the application of choice. The basic nutrients from animals or the commercial source are applied according to laboratory information in a closely monitored rate.

It is often said that American agriculture is the last great family business to vertically integrate into a corporate structure. Families that used to operate on 160 acres now operate with employees on 5,000 to 6,000 acres and more. The future of American agriculture is one of merging the laboratory and the farmer. Public and private discovery of food technology involving all in the food chain from production to the consumer and the quick acceptance of those discoveries has become the agricultural industry standard. Increasing the efficiency, expanding the utility, developing specific attributes and creating new varieties with specific characteristics define our future. Value-added agriculture, which began with the basic plan of selling grain as meat with grain and livestock production on the single farm operation continues to have validity. Nevertheless, vertically integrated agriculture operations producing a single product are more common. Chemistry, genetics, botany, zoology and their interrelationship creates a new agricultural family that increases the difficulty of defining where the farm gate is located. Additional concerns of food, fiber and energy production offers new challenges for tomorrow's farmer never imagined in history. Our ability of successfully collaborating among all who are involved in the science, art and business of cultivating the soil, producing crops and raising livestock will determine the future of Iowa, this nation and our world as we struggle to feed, clothe and house a population of more than six billion.


The peaceful and beautiful Iowa River Valley lies in the midst of modern America's most productive farmland. Grant Wood (1892-1942), artist and Iowa native, depicted the state's rural landscape in many of his paintings. Wood's paintings illustrate farmland and rolling valleys that are typical of scenes still found in Hardin County today.

The Iowa River divides the county as it flows from northwest to southeast. The encroachment of civilization has been restricted by bluffs and the area still maintains a primitive sense of times long past. This impressive landscape can be glimpsed by following a well-marked 30-mile scenic drive through rural areas and along the river. The towns along it's route--Alden, Iowa Falls, Steamboat Rock, Eldora, and Union--are working together to preserve the river valley and it's natural beauty. In the late 1980s, growing environmental and economic concerns for the Iowa River Valley in Hardin County, lead to a study of the area now known as the Iowa River Greenbelt. A comprehensive Master Plan was developed which could be used by county residents, community and county governments, civic groups and educational institutions as an aid in making decisions regarding use, conservation and development of Greenbelt lands and resources. These proposals for conserving and enhancing the Iowa River Greenbelt were guided by concerns for the future of the Greenbelt's resources, its scenic beauty and heritage, and opportunites for both perservation and develoment.

Within Hardin County's rich earth are precious 300 million-year-old coal, shale and limestone deposits, which contain fossilized ferns, snails and shellfish from a prehistoric era. Artifacts and bones, horns and tusks speak of a more recent time when the state's earliest inhabitants during the precontact period followed the retreating glacier and hunted the herds of wooly mammoths, shaggy buffalo and stags.

Modern Man has left his mark on the Iowa River Valley as well, mining its coal and limestone, clearing its timber and raising families away from the solitude of the prairie and the harsh conditions that existed there. Today, much of the timber in Hardin County is second or third growth and is not publicly accessible. However, the county has been very active in acquiring timbered areas of interest to the public and now owns or manages 3,000 acres of land in 53 public recreation areas. Most of them are primitive, low maintenance, picnic and hiking areas with river access. Each of the county's communities also owns or maintains outdoor recreation areas: Alden's Riverfront Park, Iowa Fall's Assembly Park, Steamboat Rock's Tower Rock and riverfront campground, Eldora's Deer Park, Union's Daisy Long Park, just to name a few.

Pine Lake State Park lies adjacent to the city of Eldora and the riverfront. In 1935 Pine Creek was dammed and several shelter houses and cabins were built, as well as a stone lodge constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This group of Depression era civilian workers operated under the command of two army lieutenants, one of whom was the camp surgeon. A total of 123 men were tasked with creating the park and putting a stop to poor land use practices. The camp joined the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) and became known as Camp SCS Ia-7, in July of 1935. In addition to their work on the state park, limestone was quarried and crushed to spread on fields, and terraces were built on 19 cooperating farms. Today their fine work and craftsmanship is still evident. All of the park buildings have recently been restored and a new bicycle trail is being completed that will eventually stretch from Alden south to Union.

Conservation efforts are one of the focuses of Calkin's Nature Area just south and west of old Highway 20 on the west end of Iowa Falls. This nature center is also a federally licensed raptor rehabilitation center. Raptors are birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, falcons, condors, owls, ospreys, vultures and kites. With a little luck there will be raptors for you and your family to view, as they are being nursed back to health for release.

Prairie Bridges Park is located on the northern edge of Ackley, off of S-56, amidst the agricultural lands that surround all Hardin County towns. The park, which was created from reclaimed gravel pits, features a well established prairie section, several bodies of water and multiple bridges that transport visitors to each area of the park. Some of the bridges are original to the park area, while others have been rebuilt, or moved to the park from other locations where they were threatened. Camping, showers and picnic areas are available. When this park opened in 1994, it won the "Pit to Park" award by Mid West Magazines.

One of the results of this travel itinerary project is a renewed commitment within the communities of Hardin County to research, document, and nominate more historic places to the National Register of Historic Places. Many towns in the county collaborated on this project because they are keenly aware of the benefits of historic preservation to their quality of life in the "Heart of the Heartland." Residents of Iowa Falls have been particularly active in local preservation efforts during the past few decades. The Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission was established in 1986. A newcomer to Iowa Falls, Don Clark, organized the commission, and later became Mayor. The Commission received a grant from the State of Iowa in 1989 for an intensive survey of the town's commercial districts. The result of this survey was a Multiple Property Submission through which nine properties in Iowa Falls were listed in the National Register of Historic Places. One hundred forty-four other properties, mostly residential, were also identified in this survey as meriting further study, and possible National Register nominations.

Clark and the Commission successfully helped establish the Iowa Falls Main Street program in 1990 shortly before Clark's death. When the Main Street program was started, the town had 12 vacant store fronts, some with water flowing out of the front doors. During the first 10 years, the program attracted over $8 million in private investment in the commercial district, and resulted in the rehabilitation of 157 buildings.

Numerous preservation projects are planned for Hardin County's future. New National Register nominations for Iowa Falls are being prepared by local preservation activist Molly-Meyers Nauman, who is also surveying the commercial district in Hampton, Iowa. Iowa Falls and the organization working to save the Round Barn will invest an estimated $2.5 million in three historic preservation projects and one historic district. A $200,000 restoration of the Illinois Central Combination Depot (Rock Island Depot) is underway in the town of Ackley and in New Providence $100,000 has already been spent on the New Providence School Gymnasium (Round School House) and Honey Creek Friends' Meetinghouse. The slate roof of the Hardin County Courthouse will be restored over the next two years, and a half-million dollar restoration and addition project is underway at the Alden Public Library. The Eldora Public Library has been adapted to a new use as an antique store. All of these projects are being financed through a variety of available sources including private donations, state and Federal grant programs, Federal mitigation funds, and ISTEA21 funding.

List of Sites


Alden Bridge
Alden Public Library
Slayton Farms--Round Barn
Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage
Washington Avenue Bridge
River Street Bridge
Edgewood School of Domestic Arts
US Post Office--Iowa Falls
Estes Park Band Shell
Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library
W.R.C. Hall
Sentinel Block
McClanahan Block
Princess--Sweet Shop

First National Bank
Metropolitan Opera House
Ellsworth-Jones Building
St. Matthew's by the Bridge Episcopal Church
Iowa Falls Bridge

Iowa Falls Union Depot
Mills Tower Historic District
Illinois Central Combination Depot--Ackley
First Congregational Church
Hardin County Courthouse
Eldora Public Library
New Providence School Gymnasium
Honey Creek Friends' Meetinghouse

Alden Bridge

An earlier bridge that once crossed the Iowa River in Alden had long united the two sides of this small town. However, by the mid-1930s the existing wood structure had "long since seen its best day," according to the Alden Times. In 1935, the Hardin County government sought to replace both the Alden and Steamboat Rock bridges by securing financial assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In October, the WPA approved the two projects, which were a great boon to Alden's unemployed--used as day labor to help construct the new concrete bridge over the Iowa River. The estimated cost for the 150-foot-long structure at Alden was $20,000. A WPA grant funded $11,163 of the total, and Hardin County financed the reminder.

The Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC) designed the Alden Bridge as a concrete rigid-frame structure, comprised of two spans supported by a concrete substructure. The selection of concrete as the construction material for several Depression-era, WPA-funded bridges was not coincidental. As described by the October 24, 1935, edition of the Alden Times: "The bridges will be of the concrete type with steel reinforcing, since this type provides more employment in building than all steel construction." The Weldon Brothers Construction Company of Iowa Falls won the construction contract, work began in January of 1936, and the bridge was completed that same year. To celebrate its completion, the town officially dedicated the bridge on July 4, 1936, in conjunction with Independence Day activities, with thousands of citizens in attendance.

The Alden Bridge was one of five concrete rigid-frame structures designed by ISHC. The concrete rigid-frame configuration, developed in Westchester County, New York, in the early 1930s, became especially popular for federal relief projects during the 1930s. Both picturesque and practical, the flat-arched design appealed to proponents of urban beautification. The ISHC, like many state highway departments, built a tentative number of rigid frames in the 1930s, of which Alden Bridge is a distinguished, early example.

The Alden Bridge is located on Main St. over the Iowa River, in Alden.

Alden Public Library

Standing atop the palisades on the right bank of the Iowa River in the town of Alden is the unique Alden Public Library. The town has the distinction of being the smallest community in America to receive a Carnegie grant to construct a library, and it is believed to be one of the smallest Carnegie-endowed libraries ever built. This program, established by the noted industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, funded construction of numerous libraries throughout the world. Other examples can be found at the Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library in Iowa Falls or the Eldora Public Library in Eldora. Alden was also the first community in Iowa to form a library society--the first public library was established in February 1882 when 225 books were procured. Alden's experience in establishing a public library is representative of Iowa communities as a whole during the late 19th- and 20th-century heyday of the library movement. The Alden Library also reflects the national movement that sought to obliterate the evils of society by increasing the availability of education and knowledge to the masses.

The Alden Public Library is a somewhat unusual example of Beaux Arts Classical design applied to a small scale building. The Des Moines architectural firm of Wetherell and Gage designed this goldfish-tan brick building early in 1914, and it was ready for occupancy that fall. The library was completed at a cost of $9000 and contains only 3000 square feet and two floors, with the entrance leading to the elevated main floor. The library has served the town and surrounding community well since its construction. The library was recently renovated, and a large addition made to one side of the building.

The Alden Public Library is located at 1012 Water St., in Alden. The library is open 1:30pm to 6:30pm Monday; 1:30pm to 5:30pm Tuesday-Friday; additional morning hours on Tuesday and Friday from 9:00am to 11:30am; and 11:00am to 5:30pm Saturday. Visit the Library's website at www.aldenlibrary.com for further information.

Slayton Farms--Round Barn

The Slayton Farms--Round Barn is a good surviving example of a type of round barn construction mainly found in Iowa--a round barn built of hollow clay tiles. It is one of 16 such barns believed to have been built by the Johnston Brothers Clay Works, a Fort Dodge firm whose model design used two sizes of tile--a smaller tile in the lower story and a larger tile above. The barn was built in 1915 for Frank Slayton, a member of an influential family in Hardin County.

Hollow clay tile round barns have become a distinctive trait of Iowa's round barns compared to those found elsewhere. The era of agricultural prosperity during which these barns were built coincided with the state's leadership in clay tile production, when massive efforts were underway to drain her many wetlands in order to expand cultivation in the area's rich soils. The hollow clay tile silo was developed by clay tile manufacturers in cooperation with farm building specialists at Iowa State University and it gained immense popularity. In similar fashion, the idea for constructing round hollow tile "silo" barns took hold and encouraged providers to market tile for building construction as well. The Slayton Farms--Round Barn exemplifies this type of tile construction.

The barn has a gambrel roof with two differing pitches, and an attractive hay dormer. Two metal roof aerators are located on either side of a central silo. Within the barn, the lower level is arranged in circular fashion around the silo, from which silage was shoveled for feeding the cattle. An overhead track system and bucket for hauling materials is virtually intact. Above, loft floor joists radiate outward from the silo, first to a curved laminated beam at the interior's center where the stanchions are situated, and from there extend to the outer hollow clay tile exterior walls. An interior ventilation system for the cattle in the lower level carries fresh air from openings up through ventilator pipes running from the loft floor along side the silo wall up to the metal roof ventilators.

The barn is located near the southwest edge of Iowa Falls. The roof is seriously deteriorated and interior damage has occurred because of exposure to the elements. Local fundraising for restoration is underway, with the hope of saving this building.

The Slayton Farms--Round Barn is located at 20478 135th St., Iowa Falls, south of the Chicago and North Western railroad tracks. It currently is not open to the public, however, a tour can be arranged by calling 641-648-4570.

Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage

Constructed in 1918, the Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage is a well-preserved example of a small Craftsman building, a very popular style during the first quarter of the 20th century. The caretakers cottage is a typical example of these small Craftsman houses that were found in abundance in the pattern-books and mail-order catalogs of the period. The Gordon Van-Tine catalog of 1917 offered a "Substantial Hip-roof Cottage with Convenient Porch" that is much like the gardener's cottage in size and shape as well as design. Topped by a clay-tile hipped roof this building illustrates an interest in texture that was an important element of the style, with the combination of cobblestone, brick, pebbledash stucco and wood trim. The brick and hollow tile construction method was common to both the style and period, making a building virtually fire-proof.

This cottage was designed by architect W. L. Peddicord through a contract issued by the Ladies Social Gathering, who have owned and operated Union Cemetery since it was established in 1859. When Iowa Falls was originally laid out in 1855, no provisions were made for a burying ground, or cemetery. The women of the community took it upon themselves to remedy this problem and formed an organization originally called the Social Gathering of Iowa Falls with the objective "to aid in purchasing grounds for the cemetery or fencing or adorning the same; shall obtain admission fees, buy and sell various articles and receive donations to accomplish said object." Still active today, the Ladies Social Gathering is a a tribute to the pioneer women of the West. To raise money to purchase land for a cemetery, the Ladies immediately began making shirts, overalls and stockings, in addition to piecing quilts. In August 1860 they purchased four and one-half acres at $40 per acre from the three men who had laid out the town. The terms of sale required the Ladies to make full payment for the land within 12 months, which they did by the summer of 1861. The original portion of the cemetery was heavily covered with trees, shrubs and bushes. With assistance from male residents, the Ladies quickly had the trees cut and sold for wood, and cleared the shrubs and bushes. According to the organizations records the Ladies planted 60 hard maples, 200 soft maples and 200 evergreens in 1868. Some of the evergreens remain standing today. The first addition to the cemetery was made in the 1870s when they purchased the land immediately east of the four acres. As a result a stone wall and iron fence were built at the main entrance. Around 1885 a large fountain was installed near the center of the cemetery. Many of the current members of the Ladies Social Gathering are descendents of the founders of this cemetery organization--the oldest west of the Mississippi in continuous operation.

Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage is located near the center of the cemetery, which is bounded by Siloam Ave., Cedar St., Pine St. and Ira Nichols Bird Refuge.

Washington Avenue Bridge

This impressive two-span, open spandrel concrete arch crosses the Iowa River in Iowa Falls. The Washington Avenue Bridge was opened in 1934 and carries Washington Avenue (old US Highway 20) through the center of the city. This structure was preceded by a steel bridge, known as the Foster Bridge, whose construction history is well-documented in county records. In late May of 1911, county commissioners adopted plans and specifications for the proposed bridge and immediately advertised for construction bids. Fifteen bids, ranging from $8,450 to $11,400, were received by June. Low-bidder Lana Construction Company of Harlan, Iowa, was awarded the contract, and the company began work soon after. Evidently the Foster Bridge experienced severe problems in the next few decades, and these structural difficulties precipitated construction of a new permanent bridge in 1933. That year the state highway commission designed this two-span concrete arch structure and hired the Weldon Brothers Construction Company of Iowa Falls to build it. Costing $51,710, the Washington Avenue Bridge was opened ceremoniously on July 24, 1934, by Mrs. F. H. Cottrell, wife of the Iowa Falls mayor, with several thousand people in attendance. "I christen thee the Washington Avenue Bridge," she intoned, "a beautiful bridge over a beautiful river."

Although highway commission engineers typically used riveted steel trusses for medium-span river crossings in rural settings, they used concrete open spandrel arches for a number of urban and small town structures in the 1920s. The Washington Avenue Bridge is distinguished as a well-preserved, two-span example of this application of urban bridge design. By using open spandrel arches, the state of Iowa could achieve a relatively long span at a reasonable cost, while contributing aesthetically to the urban settings in which the bridges stood. Since its completion, the spandrel arch has functioned in place, carrying heavy urban and highway traffic, with only maintenance related repairs. The city of Iowa Falls assumed ownership of the bridge in November 1995, when the new US Highway 20 was routed south of Iowa Falls.

The Washington Avenue Bridge crosses the Iowa River in Iowa Falls via Washington Ave.

River Street Bridge

This long span concrete arch carries River Street across the Iowa River in the city of Iowa Falls. The River Street location has been a pivotal one in Iowa Falls development. Initially a simple ford, the crossing was followed by a timber bridge, then an iron structure, then a 140-foot steel Pratt truss. As the fourth bridge here, the existing concrete arch River Street Bridge represents the development of bridge technology in Iowa. Its open spandrel configuration is unusual in this state. Relatively few such arches were ever built (all in urban locations like this one), and even fewer remain in use today. Designed by one of the state's foremost bridge engineers, it is an excellent example of its structural type.

Plans and specifications for the structure were drafted in 1921 by Des Moines civil engineer James B. Marsh on behalf of the state highway commission. For this urban crossing, Marsh delineated a single open spandrel arch, with three massive arch ribs carrying a series of concrete columns. The bridge would be handsome in its simplicity, as observed by J. H. Ames, bridge engineer for the Iowa State Highway Commission, to a member of the Iowa Falls Community Club: "I am sure that you are going to be pleased with the type of construction that is proposed, as it will make a very artistic and substantial bridge." Moreover it would be far more stable than the earlier span. There was some disagreement among the city, the county and the state highway commission regarding the height and location for the proposed structure, but when the county suggested dropping the project altogether, the city reacted strongly. Local citizens actively supported the bridge, citing the important commercial value of the project. Eventually the residents prevailed in securing financial backing for the bridge's construction, and commissioners advertised for competitive bids in late spring of 1922. Awarded the contract that summer, the Welden Brothers Construction Company of Iowa Falls began work in July by demolishing the earlier bridge. Completed without incident in 1923 for the aggregate sum of $16,900, the Iowa River Bridge continues to carry steady traffic in its urban setting. The structure maintains good physical integrity, with a 1958 widening of its deck and removal of the original guardrails and electroliers as the most serious alteration.

River Street Bridge is located on River St. and crosses the Iowa River in the city of Iowa Falls.

Edgewood School of Domestic Arts

The Edgewood School of Domestic Arts is associated with late 19th- and early 20th-century Progressive reform activity in the United States. Founded by Eva Harrington Simplot in 1886, the school expressed several elements of the social reform movement of the time: individual philanthropy, concern for the status and condition of women, and a course of instruction designed to "help people to help themselves."

The large brick building, known as Edgewood, was begun in 1909, funded both by the Simplots and by community donations of cash, furniture, and equipment. Edgewood School of Domestic Arts was incorporated in 1910, and formal departments of sewing, cooking, laundry, millinery, "fancy work," and music were established. Edgewood was operated successfully until Mrs. Simplot's death in 1935. More than 900 girls and young women attended courses here. In her will Simplot gave the Edgewood property to "the women of Iowa Falls," for use as a community center--a function it continues to serve today.

The building is of heavy frame construction on a rock faced stone foundation, with exterior walls faced with dark red brick. The main block is approximately 66 feet long, with gable roof ridge parallel to the fašade. At either end of (and at right angles to) the front fašade are gable-roofed projecting pavilions, which give the building plan the form of a "U." A large, one-story, flat roofed porch, supported by short square posts on high brick pedestals, shelters the area between the pavilions.

Eva Harrington was born in 1856 near Hazleton, Iowa. Her family earned a precarious existence at farming, and thus, in her teens, she was forced to support herself as a seamstress. Following a brief marriage to a man named Smale, Eva went alone to Iowa Falls, and in 1880 opened a small dressmaking shop, at which she made her living until her marriage to Walter Simplot in 1886. Several years later, she survived a severe illness, and found new meaning to life in philanthropic work. Acting on this impulse, Eva Simplot attended courses in dressmaking and other domestic arts at Chicago's Armour Institute. With this formal training, and her own experience, she opened her Iowa Falls school, in two houses on a large lot overlooking the Iowa River, in 1896.

The building is located at 719 River St., Iowa Falls, and is not open to the public.

US Post Office--Iowa Falls

The Iowa Falls Post Office (1914) is a Neo-Classical building, built under the administration of William McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury, with Oscar Wendroth, Supervising Architect. The style was influenced by the architecture of the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago and was considered to be most appropriate for public buildings. The high stone foundation, broad entrance stairs, and pedimented portico are all important elements of the style. While federal buildings in larger towns were often constructed of stone, those in smaller communities utilized brick.

Neo-Classical in design, it is constructed of dark red brick laid in English cross bond, creating an interesting pattern. The building rests on a high foundation of North Carolina granite. The symmetrical fašade features a pedimented portico with four monumental Doric columns 30 inches in diameter and 22 feet high. Three tall round arched openings are located at the back of the portico. The main entrance is in the middle. Above the entrance is a beautiful Della Robia type swag.

The interior of the building has retained a high level of integrity. The 13 foot by 35 foot lobby retains its white oak woodwork, marble-terrazo floor and vaulted ceiling. The round arched openings of the exterior are continued on the interior with multi-pane windows allowing light to pass from one space to another. An interesting landscape element in the south lawn are the peonies that were origninally planted by Abigail Estes Foster, from whom the U.S. Government purchased the land in 1909.

The US Post Office--Iowa Falls is located at 401 Main St. and is open to the public 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Estes Park Band Shell

The Estes Park Band Shell is an unusual example of Spanish Colonial Revival design. The designer of the Estes Park Band Shell was L. L. Klippel, a man with family ties to Iowa Falls, who appears to have spent some time in California. The Spanish Colonial Revival was popular in California and the southwest in the early years of the 20th century, and drew inspiration from the Spanish missions located throughout that region. Hallmarks of the style include the use of stucco for the exterior, red tile for the roof, round arch fenestration, and wrought iron gates and balconies. Following World War I it became widely used for hotels, resorts, and grand movie theaters. There are relatively few examples of the Spanish Colonial Revival style in Iowa, the majority of which were recreational facilities.

Articles first appeared in the Hardin County Citizen about the need for a band shell in Estes Park in May 1930. A committee raised $3,622 for construction, and the band shell was dedicated in the late summer of 1931 by three bands. The business community recognized the advantages of the new facility and scheduled fashion shows for September 10, 1931. A children's show took place after school and the regular adult show in the evening. In 1940 the Republican Party held a gigantic rally to hear presidential nominee Wendell Wilkie speak at the band shell.

The Band Shell is a single-story building measuring 18 by 44 feet. It is located on the south edge of the park, with the stage opening to the north, toward the center of the park. Typical of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the exterior walls are finished in highly textured cream-colored stucco with brown trim. The red clay tile roof and round arch openings are also regular features of this style. The north elevation is symmetrical, with the stage flanked by projecting bell towers. The stage area was designed to hold between 50 and 60 musicians at one time.

The Estes Park Band Shell has continued to be a focal point of community activities. Band concerts are held on a regular basis, teen dances are sponsored during the summer, with Big Band dances for the adults. The River Bend Rally over the 4th of July makes extensive use of the facility for all sorts of entertainment activities.

The Estes Park Band Shell is located in Iowa Falls, in Estes Park within the central business district, between Main and North Stevens Sts., to the west and east respectively, and West Rocksylvania St., to the north. The Band Shell is accessible 24 hours a day for external viewing only.

Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library

The Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library (1904-05), is one of 22 public libraries in Iowa constructed with Carnegie grants made in 1903, the year which marks the highest point in Carnegie giving, both nationally and in the state. Eugene S. Ellsworth made an additional cash donation. Andrew Carnegie's library program, which funded over 1600 buildings, has been accorded recognition by historians of the Progressive Era, and of the public library movement. Between 1889 and 1919, 101 Carnegie libraries were built in Iowa, including the Alden Public Library and Eldora Public Library.

The Carnegie-Ellsworth Library is one of the more elaborate library buildings of its size and type. The fašade is dominated by a large and lavish entrance pavilion featuring a distinctive portico with Ionic style columns set in-antis between rusticated corner piers and a semi-circular window above the cornice. The effect of richness is enhanced by the variety of materials, textures and colors. The interior features an octagonal rotunda with a double-curved delivery desk and a stained-glass dome. Now known as the Carnegie-Ellsworth Building, the library recently reopend after a $1 million restoration, and now houses a local visitor information center, the Iowa Falls Chamber/Main Street and Iowa Falls Area Development Corporation. In addition, part of an international art collection and the exhibits of the he Iowa Falls Historical Society are now on display here.

The Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library is located at 520 Rocksylvania Ave., in Iowa Falls. The building has been restored and is open to the public.

W.R.C. Hall

Organized nationally in 1883, the Women's Relief Corps was one of at least three women's organizations created to serve the country's veterans. Members were responsible for decorating veteran's graves on Decoration Day, caring for disabled veterans, and seeing to the needs of widows and orphans of Civil War veterans.

Shortly after the Charles Payne Post of the Grand Army of the Republic was organized in Iowa Falls in 1883, the women of the community chartered Payne Post #48 of the W.R.C. in 1886. The current hall was completed in 1898 after several years of fundraising. Their fund raising activities and their dedicated service to veterans and their families continued. But as time passed membership dwindled. After years of Easter programs, entertainment, oyster suppers, flower sales and tireless efforts to care for the graves of veterans, the hall was deeded to the American Legion. The Legion deeded it to the City, which sold it to a local individual. The building was recently sold again to a local bridal and formal wear business.

The segmented arched windows and bracketed metal cornice are the primary design elements, which give this building its Italianate character. The adaptation made at street level to identify this as something other than a retail business was accomplished very simply, by the asymmetrical placement of the entrance and the use of tall slender windows rather than large pieces of plate glass.

The building is located at 710 Washington Ave. and is open to the public during normal business hours.

Sentinel Block

The Sentinel Block (1905) is a good example of a Romantic Revival style commercial building. It also illustrates the important position held by community newspapers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Iowa Falls Sentinel was born as the Eldora Sentinel in 1857. When Marcus Woodruff relocated the newspaper to Iowa Falls in 1865, he had an eye on the future. Business in Iowa Falls was brisk, the population was growing, and the promise of continued growth was strong. The year after Woodruff moved his paper, the town received rail transportation, a strong assurance to businessmen that growth would follow in Iowa Falls. In 1883 the Iowa Falls Sentinel received competition from the Hardin County Citizen, which began the battle for supremacy among the editors of the two local newspapers. The high point in the newspapers' competition was 1904-1905, when S. B. Stonebrook took charge and decided to erect a new office for the paper, which became the Sentinel Block. The town supported two newspapers until 1927 when Ira A. Nichols, owner of the competition, purchased the Sentinel and silenced its presses.

The Sentinel Block represents a departure from earlier commercial buildings in Iowa Falls. These had almost all been Italianate in design with decorative hoodmolds and heavy metal cornices. With the new century came a new interest in a simpler form. The Sentinel Block represents an early expression of this. The hoodmolds have been replaced by rectilinear brick panels, and the cornice consists entirely of brick patterning with a very plain stone cap. The crenellated parapet on the corner oriel window bay may have been a reaction to the Queen Anne influence of the 1890s. The main level has undergone a substantial rehabilitation and is now occupied by the investment firm of Edward Jones, Inc.

The building is located at 702 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls. The first floor and basement of the Sentinel Block Building are occupied by businesses and are open to the public during normal business hours.

McClanahan Block

The 1913 McClanahan Block is a two-story storefront brick building located on the south side of Washington Avenue, in the middle of the 600 block. It is a good example of simplified commercial design from the second decade of this century.

The McClanahan block illustrates the "new, modern" designs that were in favor in 1913. Rather than projecting hoodmolds and cornices, the new buildings featured a fašade where the visual interest was on the surface and was created through brick patterns, colors and inset panels of stone or concrete. The storefront proper features a deeply recessed entry flanked by glass display windows. Marble panels are found below the glass. The original prism glass transom is fully revealed. The simplicity of the exterior design is common to commercial buildings built from 1910 to 1920, and is similar to that seen on the building immediately west, which was constructed in 1914 as the Rex Theater and features a glazed white brick fašade.

The interior of the building is remarkably unchanged. The first floor retail space remains undivided from front to rear with the exception of an office partition that does not extend to the ceiling. This allows light from the north and the south to flood into the shop. The original pressed metal ceiling is fully visible. The original occupant of the first floor was a hardware store, and Dr. McClanahan, a dentist, had his offices on the second floor.

The McClanahan Block, located at 613 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls, is currently occupied by a gifts and collectibles business open during normal business hours.

Princess--Sweet Shop

The Princess--Sweet Shop is an outstanding example of Art Deco design from 1935. The Carrara glass fašade, and streamlined woodwork are typical of Art Deco design of the 1920s and 1930s, but a rarity in a small town in Iowa. This building replaced a brick building, which burned on Christmas day 1934. The owners displayed a great deal of faith in the architect, and in the people of Iowa Falls too. The community was somewhat surprised when a drawing of the new fašade was released to the newspaper. Not only was the design modern, both inside and out, but the equipment was utmost in efficiency and convenience. It was the first building in town to be air-conditioned. Gas ranges replaced the old wood and coal stoves that had been used before the fire, and gas water heaters provided sufficient water for the washing and sterilizing of the dishes. The total cost for the building and equipment of the Princess was approximately $30,000, a surprising amount during the years of the Great Depression.

When the Princess--Sweet Shop reopened, the citizens of Iowa Falls could once again treat themselves to Princess "velvet" ice cream; Princess homemade candies and Chinese food. The chef was Yee Foong Young. The fašade of the Princess is outstanding; the street level features black Carrara glass with a pale green linear design at the corners and sides and dark zigzag treatment enframing the second floor windows. Trim on the building is "pitco" metal. The neon sign, which extends out from the fašade, was designed by the Pioneer Neon Sign Company of Minneapolis and was one of the largest in central Iowa in 1935.

The interior also retains a very high level of integrity and displays significant detailing. The 25-foot-long fountain with stools and original equipment still produces old fashioned shakes. The candy display cases are now used to display local school children's art projects. The fixtures are made of two-tone walnut. Panels of figured oriental walnut of light shades, imported from Africa, are at the ends of the tables in the booths. Avodire veneer and American Black Walnut is used in the booth suites, which have carved rosettes inlaid at the ends.

The Princess--Sweet Shop is located at 607 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls. Still a cafe and ice cream parlor, it is open from 11:00am to 2:00pm and again for dinner at 4:00pm Monday-Saturday.

First National Bank

The 1918 First National Bank is a fine, relatively unaltered, example of Neo-Classical bank design from the second decade of this century, and demonstrates the strong growth in Iowa Falls at that time. The current building replaced an earlier brick bank building erected here in 1884. The first quarter of the century was a period of growth for the entire community which lasted until the national banking collapse closed First National's doors on December 21, 1932. The city was without a bank until the Iowa Falls State Bank was organized and opened on May 25, 1933.

The Lytle Company of Sioux City, which specialized in bank designs, was the architectural firm hired to design First National Bank. It is known that the firm designed at least 25 banks, primarily for Iowa communities. The architectural firm achieved a rich surface pattern through the lavish use of terra cotta with special colors of brick. When the bank opened, the blue-black exterior was described as "Hy-tex Mission Chinchilla face brick, with vanilla and cream full enamel satin finish terra cotta." The main entrance is flanked by monumental terra cotta free-standing Corinthian columns resting on granite bases. The main doorway features a terra cotta surround with a rich variety of Neo-classical details: egg and dart and bead and reel moldings, rosettes, and a full denticulated entablature above. The granite base, brick parapet, terra cotta cornice, and brick pilasters continue around the east elevation with two-story windows placed between the pilasters. The terra cotta detailing on this building is so rich that the producer, the American Terra Cotta Company, featured a drawing of one of the capitals in its company publication, Common Clay. The interior features a cashiers' counter and side wall of green veined cream colored marble with a 10-inch Westfield green marble base. The interior woodwork is of "Tabasco Mahogany."

The First National Bank Building is located at 601 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls. The bank is open to the public during normal business hours by appointment, 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday-Friday. Please call 641-648-5171 for further information.

Metropolitan Opera House

The design and construction of the Metropolitan Opera House (1899) was commissioned by one of Iowa Falls' most noted citizens, Eugene S. Ellsworth. At the time of its opening at the turn of the century, the theater was considered the most attractive and complete opera house in the state. Attendance at the grand opening performance numbered 800 people, making the evening the "biggest social event in the history of Iowa Falls." The theater soon gained a reputation as the "big time theater in a little town." Patrons came from miles around for the productions staged here, such as Faust, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and The Merchant of Venice. John Phillip Sousa's band performed more than once on the stage. By the late 1920s, vaudeville and silent movies had become the stock-in-trade and the first sound system was installed in 1930. From that time until 1952, Ellsworth College drama productions, high school plays, dance recitals, and concerts were still performed between movie programs.

The three-story fašade of the Metropolitan is executed in one of the popular late 19th-century modes, Italian Renaissance. This fašade is rich in the detailing of the style; quoined from grade to the frieze, the frieze is garlanded and topped with a bracket-supported cornice, fenestration consists of three types of windows on the second and third stories. The first story is simpler. A single storefront entrance flanked by a corbelled arch serves as the theater entrance. The main floor of the original theater once seated 441 and the balcony seated 390. The stage was 66 feet wide and 30 feet deep with large wings to either side. The second and third floors at the front of the building were occupied by offices. A third floor ballroom is still mostly intact but has not been restored. In 1997 the building was renovated by it's current owner Bob Fridley, an entertainment company owner from Des Moines. There are now two movie theaters inside, and the second and third floor offices house the projection and sound equipment.

The building is located at 515 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls. Now a movie theater, call 641-648-3605 for further information on showtimes.

Ellsworth-Jones Building

Constructed in 1902, the Ellsworth-Jones Building illustrates the importance of Eugene S. Ellsworth, businessman and philanthropist. Ellsworth was a land broker, town developer, and philanthropist of immense success. The firm of Ellsworth and Jones, headquartered in Iowa Falls, purchased and sold land throughout the state of Iowa and other mid-western states. The Ellsworth-Jones Building is a superbly intact example of Neo-Classical commercial architecture. The three-story reddish-brown brick building clearly reflects the tastes and affluence of its builder. Typical details from this period include the egg and dart motif of the columns at street level and the dentil work on the cornice. Ionic and Doric columns, Roman arches, acanthus leaf keystones, and foliated decorative elements are other decorative elements found on the exterior of the Ellsworth-Jones Building. There is also a three-story safe, still in use, on the interior of the building.

Ellsworth was active in more than business affairs. He was also instrumental in Iowa Falls' development. He helped secure rail transportation, telephone communication, a golf course, and constructed significant commercial buildings for the city. At the time of his death, he was one of the four wealthiest men in Iowa.

The Ellsworth-Jones Building is located at 511 Washington Ave., in Iowa Falls. The building is currently occupied by Nissly and Nissly, an accounting and farm management firm, and is not open to the public

St. Matthew's by the Bridge Episcopal Church

St. Matthew's by the Bridge, constructed in 1913, is a good local example of a Tudor Revival style church. The Tudor Revival style was very popular during the early part of the 20th century and was commonly used for residences, offices and school buildings, as well as churches. The church designer, Robert Layton, was an industrial arts teacher in the Iowa Falls School System. An Englishman, Layton returned to his old home on a visit in 1912, and made sketches of several village churches in the area. Armed with these sketches, he drew the plans from which St. Matthew's was built the following year. Two of his students, Louis and Ernie Weldon, assisted him in making the blueprints.

The church is a single-story rectangular building measuring 24 by 60 feet perched on the palisade overlooking the Iowa River. The building is of wood frame construction covered with stucco. The gable ends have a simple simulated half-timbered effect and paneled verge boards. Diagonal braces appear to support the roof. The interior of St. Matthew's remains basically unchanged. The altar is located at the east end of the sanctuary. The aisle is arranged just to the left of center, with narrow pews along the north wall. The interior structural system of King posts, Queen posts, collar beams, and struts makes a dramatic vertical statement. The feeling of the sanctuary is that of a small, intimate place of worship.

St. Matthew's by the Bridge Episcopal Church is located at Oak and Railroad Sts. next to the Oak Street Bridge, in Iowa Falls. Tours are available by appointment. Please call 641-648-5314 or 648-4017 for information. Donations are accepted and a special organ mini-concert is available.

Iowa Falls Bridge

This long-span concrete structure spans the Iowa River in Iowa Falls. Carrying U.S. Highway 65 (Oak Street) in a somewhat urban setting, this open spandrel arch features two massive ribs, upon which bear a series of paneled concrete columns. At its construction in 1928, the Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC) described the bridge as the "longest arch span either concrete or steel in the state of Iowa." The Weldon Brothers Construction Company built the 255-foot long Iowa Falls Bridge at a total cost of $51,375. The Iowa Department of Transportation awarded the construction contract to the Iowa Falls firm on July 9, 1927. The ISHC used this banner headline to depict the concrete landmark: "Nature Gives Scenic Beauty Touch to New Jefferson Highway Bridge at Iowa Falls." Since its completion, the Iowa Falls Bridge has carried a steady stream of urban traffic for 65 years with minimal alterations.

"Iowa Falls residents are fortunate in having the most beautiful and most picturesque section of the Iowa River thru the heart of the town," the ISHC stated in 1927. Although highway commission engineers typically used riveted steel trusses for medium-span river crossings in rural settings, they used concrete open spandrel arches for a number of urban and small town structures in the 1920s. The Mederville Bridge, built in 1918, was apparently the first of these, designed as an alternate to a steel truss bridge. This was followed by the Adair Viaduct in 1923 and the Iowa Falls Bridge in 1928. By using open spandrel arches, ISHC could achieve a relatively long span at a reasonable cost, while contributing aesthetically to the urban settings in which the bridges stood. But given the restrictive parameters of the arches' use--urban setting, long-span crossing, sufficient vertical clearance--only a few were built during this period. The Iowa Falls Bridge is distinguished as a well-preserved example of this application of urban bridge design. A centerpiece for this small city, it is a local landmark and an important transportation-related resource.

The Iowa Falls Bridge is still in use today at the crossing of Hwy. 65 South (Oak St.) over the Iowa River .

Iowa Falls Union Depot

The 1902 Iowa Falls Union Depot is a variation of the second generation of passenger depots that the Illinois Central Railroad erected in smaller towns from the 1890s to the 1920s. This period coincides with the heyday of railroading in Iowa, during which the Illinois Central replaced its original wooden two-story depots with more permanent brick buildings. While the depot designs were limited by their functions, as reflected in nearly identical floor plans, they were at the same time tailored to each town's particular needs. The depot's floor plan reveals its origin as a union station, a rare depot type in Iowa along the Illinois Central's Iowa Division rail line. The depot represents the direct association between the Illinois Central and Des Moines, Iowa Falls & Northern Railroads (DMIFN). The DMIFN was organized by E. S. Ellsworth and other prominent Iowa Falls citizens in 1899. During the years that the railroad operated as an independent company (1902-1908) it shared depot facilities with the Illinois Central. In addition to representing the Illinois Central's shift toward brick replacement depots in Iowa during the early 1900s the Iowa Falls depot illustrates the individual history of railroads in Iowa Falls.

The design of the depot is stylistically eclectic with Italian Renaissance Revival influences. It is a one-story, four by one-bay, rectangular building, with a pavilion-with-ells plan. Small bay windows mirroring each other project from its north and south sides. The depot foundation is concrete with a partial basement for the boiler under the east end. The walls are brick veneer but 13 inches thick, which suggests masonry construction underneath the veneer. The roof is hipped with the central pavilion higher than the eastern and western ells. Diamond-shaped asphalt shingles and cast concrete copings cover the roof, which also has two interior brick chimneys with stone caps.

The Iowa Falls Union Depot is located at East Rocksylvania Ave. and Depot St. It is currently undergoing a complete restoration and will not be ready for tours until mid-2002. For more information please call the Iowa Falls Historical Society at 641-648-4603.

Mills Tower Historic District

The Mills Tower Historic District encompasses the eastern portion of the Illinois Central (IC) railroad yard, on the eastern edge of Iowa Falls. The small district consists of several structures which date to the last two periods of Iowa railroad history. Most alterations to the district have been to Mills Tower, the oldest of the group. Mills Tower is a good example of the second generation utilitarian support structures the IC built between the 1880s and 1930s to control traffic along their lines. Mills Tower is the only interlocking tower left in Iowa, out of nearly 70 previously in operation at various times and places.

Mills Tower probably replaced the original Iowa Falls junction in 1909, when the IC built a new river crossing and the new line made the older junction obsolete. The actual date of construction is unknown. Unlike the first tower, which "was doubtless of the 'Armstrong' variety" (having manually operated levers) Mills Tower employed electrically operated levers. Mills governed the switches in the IC yard west of the tower as well as the older Rock Island crossing with the IC. In 1985 the Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad purchased the IC and its employees refer to the tower as a "relic" and a "fossil." The first floor was once used for offices and the second floor is the control room, as its many windows attest. The key feature of the tower has always been the original electric control board sitting in the middle of the room. A large train order signal stands right next to the building, on the north side. Next to the tracks and just west of the crossing diamond is a smaller metal pole with two slender metal hoops. Train orders for the next segment of track were tied loosely to the hoops so the engineer could grasp the papers with his hand while the train slowed for the crossing.

The Mills Tower Historic District is located on East Rocksylvania Ave., approximately 1/3 mile east of the old freight house and Illinois Central Depot. There are no tours, as the Mills Tower and two contributing buildings are undergoing a restoration; as is a caboose, restored to Illinois Central colors, now located on the property. For information please call the Iowa Falls Historical Society at 641-648-4603.

Illinois Central Combination Depot--Ackley

Built in 1926 to replace two former wooden buildings, the Illinois Central Combination Depot located in Ackley, is a substantial brick building exhibiting characteristics of the Prairie style with a Tudor Revival influence. The Ackley depot is an example of a second-generation depot that the Illinois Central Railroad began constructing in Iowa in the early 20th century. The company replaced several of its depots between the 1890s and the 1920s, a period which roughly coincides with the golden age of steam railroading in Iowa. Replacing its original, wooden one-and two-story combination stations, the company erected brick depots with hipped roofs in the larger towns and cities along its main Iowa line. The Ackley depot was one of the last replacement stations the company designed before the Depression. In 1925 the two-story wood combination depot in Ackley was 60 years old and probably in need of repair.

As Ackley possessed a flourmill, two grain elevators, a cement factory, a pickling factory and several lumberyards and warehouses by this time, the business generated in Ackley justified the construction of a new station, rather than repairing the old one. Plans were drawn in 1926 by J. H. Schott, an Iowa Central architect, and after minor revisions the building contract was let to the Coomer and Small Construction Company of Sioux City. The Illinois Central Combination Depot contained a freight room, a heater room, a coal room, a ticket office and other rooms necessary for a depot. It is a one-story, 12 by 3 bay building with an off-center, rectangular trackside bay window. The building measures 115 and a half feet wide by 28 feet deep. The foundation is concrete, and the depot walls are solid brick. Passenger service was discontinued in 1970 and the depot was permanently closed in May of 1980. This working style depot is currently scheduled for restoration work through a grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The Illinois Central Combination Depot--Ackley is located North of Park Ave., between State and Mitchell Sts. in Ackley. The site is undergoing restoration and will not be open until mid-2002.

First Congregational Church

While the First Congregational Church has been a part of the community since the Society was organized in 1868, the present building was constructed from 1893 to 1894. Located adjacent to Eldora's commercial district, a short distance northeast of the Hardin County Courthouse, the First Congregational Church remains a noteworthy landmark in the central Iowa community. At the time of its construction, the building boasted a complete system of electric lighting--a total of 96 lights were in use. It was designed in the late Victorian Romanesque Revival style by noted Iowa architect Charles Durham. Durham's influence extended far beyond Iowa's borders because of his extensive practice in surrounding states and publication of his designs in national periodicals like Scientific American, American Architect and Building News, and Carpentry and Building. Church design was one of his specialties, and the First Congregational Church is one of four designed by Durham that is still intact.

The Church measures 47 by 90 feet and is built of the best LeGrand hammer dressed limestone of uniform thickness. The tower is 12 by 12 feet and extends 57 and a half feet above the top of the cornice line. Door sills and steps are of the best blue stone. The interior of the Church is finished in antique oak and "hard pine." The stained glass windows remain much as they were when installed. The First Congregational Church is locally significant as a well-executed example of Romanesque Revival ecclesiastical design.

The First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) is located at 1209-12th St., in Eldora. Call 641-939-3113 for times of services and further information.

Hardin County Courthouse

Locally significant as the historical focus of county government, the Hardin County Courthouse is a fine example of Victorian Romanesque courthouses, richly detailed on the exterior. Constructed in 1892 at a cost of $48,000, the courthouse is an architectural amalgamation of several styles. Designed by architect T. D. Allen, the imposing brick and stone facade of the building is characterestic of the Richardsonian Romanesque. Romanesque arches, resting upon polished red granite columns, grace the north and south entrances. However, the corner turrets, hipped roof, cross gables and cut stone trimmings are distinctive Queen Anne features. The 128-foot high clock tower is reminiscent of Italian gothic town centers. The building exterior is of St. Louis pressed brick and pink Kasota stone. Semi-circular transoms adorn the upper middle east and west windows. These transoms feature the great seal of the State of Iowa etched onto frosted glass. Statues depicting Justice, Mercy and Liberty stand enshrined in an alcove beneath the clock tower.

The large entrance arch on short, tripled columns, and the checkerboard patterning in the brick and rock faced stone, are additional fine details. Hardin County had been attached to Marshall County for revenue and judicial purposes until it was duly organized in February 1853. Eldora was picked as the county seat, and the first county courthouse was a two-story frame building erected in 1856. In October of that same year it was destroyed by fire and a new courthouse was built in 1857. At about this time, an effort was made to move the county seat to Point Pleasant, but a contested vote landed the matter in litigation. After 10 years, the Supreme Court finally decided in favor of Eldora in June 1868.

The Hardin County Courthouse faces Hwy. 175 on the square, in the middle of Eldora. Tours are offered 8:00am to 4:30pm weekdays, but must be scheduled two weeks in advance. Please call 641-648-4570 or e-mail rodscott@iowaconnect.com for further information.

Eldora Public Library

The Eldora Public Library, built from 1902 to 1903, is one of the group of libraries (see also the Alden Public Library and Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library) constructed in Iowa with Carnegie grants and is a vivid reminder of one of the 20th century's most remarkable philanthropic efforts. In 1853, at the age of 18, Andrew Carnegie began work for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a telegrapher. With several shrewd investments, Carnegie soon found himself a wealthy man, but did not begin to accumulate his staggering fortune until he opened his first steel mills in the 1870s. In 1901, Carnegie became the world's richest man when he sold the Carnegie Steel Company for $450 million dollars (approximately $8.6 billion today.) During his years as a giant of American industry, Carnegie established a reputation for ruthlessness, instructing his business partners to brutally put down union strikes and repeatedly slash the wages of the workers who made him rich. After the sale of Carnegie Steel, Carnegie threw his full energies into philanthropy and peace, perhaps hoping that donating his wealth to charitable causes would mitigate the details of its accumulation. In the public memory, he may have been correct. Today he is most remembered for his generous gifts of music halls, educational grants, and nearly 3000 public libraries, among them the Eldora Public Library.

Representative of the Academic Eclecticism prevalent at the turn of the century, the Eldora Public Library displays design elements from a combination of influences. Its facade is constructed of asymmetrical massing of interesting gables. The exterior exibits a restrained northern Renaissance Revival style, with a Georgian-inspired doorway, the elliptical pediment of which echoes the curved shape of the gable above it. The radiating stack room projects substantially from the rear of the building and is connected to the left-hand reading room through a diminutive semi-octagonal reference alcove. The interior exhibits elaborate medieval inspired craftsman with dark woodwork and contrasting light walls, somewhat atypical of small town libraries. Wall surfaces are divided into panels by dark wood strips. The building is chiefly significant for its interior, and the plan is an interesting variation on the standard sexpartite plan.

The Eldora Public Library is located at 1219 14th Ave. south of the Courthouse in Eldora. It is now an antique store open during normal business hours.

New Providence School Gymnasium

The New Providence School Gymnasium was erected in 1936 to enhance the educational experience of the students attending the New Providence Consolidated School. Constructed as a Public Works Adminstration (PWA) project, the two-story round, double wall building was constructed with 13 inch hollow tile blocks with a brick exterior. Although it was not the first round gym in Iowa, it was the first one of this size and, when constructed, was the most modern gym in the locality. The entrance is on the ground level and is open to the full height of the building with windows on three sides. On either side of the entryway are two wooden staircases which ascend to the gymnasium and descend into the lunchroom. The upper floor holds the basketball court, stage, and bleachers. The basketball court is 72 by 38 feet. A steel structural system carries the dome, about 35 feet at its highest point, allowing for a clear span on the interior.

The New Providence School Gymnasium was one of 32 PWA school buildings planned by Keffer & Jones, Architects, of Des Moines, Iowa. J. E. Lovejoy Construction of Des Moines was the contractor. Its style is the PWA Moderne typical of numerous federal government buildings of the 1930s and 1940s. At the time of its construction, the round shape of the building was so unusual that many people made fun of it. All the basketball tournaments in the area were hosted here. After serving the community for more than 50 years as a school facility, the gymnasium is now being restored and maintained by a non-profit community betterment organization, Renewal Community, Inc. as a community activity center. This spacious and well-equipped facility has become a popular place for graduation receptions, birthday parties, family Christmas gatherings, and the annual Halloween Carnival.

The New Providence School Gymnasium is located at 106 N Main Ave., New Providence, Iowa. It is not open to the public, but to schedule an event call Kay Clampitt at 641-497-5353.

Honey Creek Friends' Meetinghouse

Church members and local builder, Ernie Moon, constructed the Quaker Honey Creek Friends' Meeting House in 1916. Roy and Bert Wilson, with Moon's advice and much help from church members, laid the first brick and constructed the building. The meeting house is constructed of clay tile, with exterior walls veneered in brick. The main gable is oriented north-south, with an intersecting front gable on the east side. A smaller gable is set asymmetrically at the outer corner of the north and east gable ends. The latter small gable, supported on square brick piers, shelters the main entrance. Behind it rises a short square bell tower with crenellated parapet and pairs of elliptical arched openings on each side of the bell chamber. The small gable on the north side covers a secondary entrance and vestibule.

The meeting room or sanctuary is illuminated on north, south and east by large segmental arched openings housing a multi-light transom, below which is a tripartite grouping of two nine-over-one double hung sash windows flanking a central 15-over-one double hung sash window. All other window openings are simply rectilinear. The main entrance consists of a pair of paneled doors, each topped with a semi-circular light. It opens into a vestibule and stairhall (the sanctuary is a few steps above the level of the entrance) that in turn leads into the meeting room proper. This room occupies most of the main floor area.

The Honey Creek Monthly Meeting was first organized in 1852, by a group of Friends originally from Yadkin County, North Carolina. They arrived in Hardin County in 1851. The first meeting house was a log building, erected in 1854. It was replaced, after a fire in 1859, with a 32 by 48 foot building that, with various subsequent additions, was used until 1916. Although there are no longer regular services held at the Honey Creek Meeting House there are several events that still take place within the building. The Honey Creek Preservation Group meets regularly to make decisions regarding maintenance and sponsoring annual events. The Honey Creek Meeting House also possesses a wealth of historical information that has been catalogued and filed for access to interested parties. This information includes genealogical records, personal histories, letters, church statistical records, books by local authors, and other items.

The Honey Creek Meeting House is located at 31031 PP Ave., two miles south and a half miles west of New Providence, Iowa. It is not regularly open to the public, but for further information on special events or to reserve the facility call Judy Staples at 641-497-5799; Dee Reece at 641-497-5499; Paul and Alice Williams at 641-497-5391; or Vera Cutler at 641-497-5458.

Learn More

By clicking on one of these links, you can go directly to a particular section:
Bibliography for Hardin County, Iowa
Hardin County, Iowa, Children's Literature
Links to Hardin County Tourism and Preservation

Bibliography for Hardin County, Iowa

Bergman, Marvin, ed. Iowa History Reader. Ames, IA: State Historical Society of Iowa in association with Iowa State University Press, 1996.

Carpenter, Allan and Randy Lyon, with Carl Provorse. Between Two Rivers: Iowa Year by Year, 1846-1996. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1997.

Collins, James M. The Iowa River Greenbelt: an Archaeological Landscape. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa, 1991.

History of Hardin County. Eldora, IA: Hardin County Historical Society, 1981. (available from Higginson Book Co., 148 Washington St., Dept. P., Salem, MA 01970).

Ingalls, Marlin R. Architectural Resources and Settlement Landscapes of Hardin and Grundy Counties in North Central Iowa. Iowa City, IA,1990.

Iowa Biographical Dictionary: People of All Times and Places Who Have Been Important to the History and Life of the State. New York, N.Y.: Somerset Publishers, 1996.

Naumann, Molly Myers. Architectural and Historical Sites Survey of Iowa Falls, Iowa. Iowa Falls, IA. 1991.

Nichols, I.A. History of Iowa Falls. Fort Dodge, IA: Messenger Printing Company, 1955. (recently reprinted and available from the Iowa Falls Historical Society, PO Box 364, Iowa Falls, IA 50126).

Nichols, I.A. Pioneer Days. Fort Dodge, IA: Messenger Printing Company, 1955.
(recently reprinted and available from the Iowa Falls Historical Society, PO Box 364, Iowa Falls, IA 50126).

Riley, Glenda, ed. Prairie Voices: Iowa's Pioneering Women. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1996.

Schmidt , Duane A., and Loren Horton. Iowa Pride. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1996.

Schwieder, Dorothy. Iowa: the Middle Land. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1996.

Silag, Bill, ed. Outside in: African-American history in Iowa, 1838-2000. Des Moines, IA: State Historical Society of Iowa, 2001.

War on the Homefront: WWII Stories and Letters of Solidiers and Families from Hardin County. Times Citizen Communications: Iowa Falls, IA. 2000 (available from www.iafalls.com).

Hardin County, Iowa, Children's Literature

Mahan, Bruce E. and Ruth A. Gallaher. Stories of Iowa for Boys and Girls. New York, Macmillan, 1929.

San Souci , Robert D., and Max Ginsburg (Illustrator). Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1995.

Fradin , Dennis Brindel. Iowa (From Sea to Shining Sea). Children's Press: 1995.

Links to Hardin County Tourism and Preservation

Hardin County Online
Sponsored by the Hardin County Community Development Council, this website has a wealth of information for visitors and residents of the county, including a calendar of events, historical information on each town, and links to such area attactions as the Ackley Heritage Center and Scenic City Empress river boat. There is also further information available through local area guides for Ackley, Eldora and Iowa Falls .

Hardin County Government
Official county government website with information on many resources and services available.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area
This regional heritage tourism program, involving more than 80 communities, sites, and attractions in northeastern Iowa, is dedicated to becoming the premier destination for showcasing and interpreting American agriculture.

Iowa State Historical Society
Find further information on the programs of the Iowa State Historic Preservation Office at this website for the state organization dedicated to Iowa's historical legacy and its role as an advocate for understanding Iowa's past.

Iowa Office of Tourism
Official state government website that offers tourist information on events, attractions, travel, and tourism throughout the state of Iowa.

Main Street Iowa Program
Many Iowa communties, including Iowa Falls, have adopted this program's approach to downtown revitalization through economic development within the context of historic preservation.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
A nonprofit organization that builds partnerships and educates Iowans to protect, preserve and enhance Iowa's natural resources for future generations.

The Barn Journal
Dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of traditional farm architecture.

Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall
Visit this site for a detailed history of Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Libraries.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Learn about the programs of and membership in the oldest national non-profit preservation organization.

National Park Service Office of Tourism
National parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest days. This website highlights the ways in which the NPS promotes and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.

National Scenic Byways Program
This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on state and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Great River Road website for more ideas.



Hardin County, Iowa, was produced by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the Hardin County Community Development Council, Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, Iowa State Historical Society, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). It was created under the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick Andrus, Heritage Tourism Director, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Director. Hardin County, Iowa, is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections. These materials are kept at 800 North Capitol St., Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.

The Hardin County Community Development Council and Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission conceptualized and compiled all photographic and written materials for the itinerary, especially guided by project manager Rod Scott. The itinerary was designed by Nathan Poe, independent contractor with the National Register. National Register web production team members Shannon Bell, Jeff Joeckel, and Rustin Quaide (all of NCSHPO), coordinated project production and provided editorial and web assistance. Yen M. Tang (National Council for Preservation Education) assisted with preparing the photographs. Special thanks to those who provided invaluable assistance including Jerry Aldrich; Lee Babcock; Sue Crotty, Curator of the Iowa Falls Historical Society; Gene Farmer; Judy Staples; the Ackley Heritage Center and Historic Society; and Lindsay Photography.

[graphic] Collage of different scenes from Hardin County
[graphic] Link to Settlement Essay[graphic] Link to Transportation Essay[graphic] Link to Agriculture Essay[graphic] Link to Preservation Essay