Iowa's National Historic Landmarks
Iowa’s rich history is preserved for visitors of the state’s 25 National Historic Landmarks. Step back in time and discover Iowa’s origins, as well as the role the state played in the history of our nation. Most of the landmarks are open to the public and easily accessible via major state and interstate highways.
These seven historic villages were founded by German immigrants as a religious communal society in 1855. One of Iowa’s most famous travel attractions, the Amana Colonies preserve their crafts and culture while offering a variety of experiences.
Farm House, Ames
The Farm House was built in 1860 as the first building at Iowa State Agricultural College and Model Farm. More than 6,000 pieces of Victorian decorative art and antique furnishings are on display, offering a glimpse into the early 19th century life of the university and its first two presidents.
James B. Weaver House, Bloomfield
Now operated as a bed and breakfast inn, the Weaver House was the home of Bloomfield lawyer and Civil War General James B. Weaver. This striking, two-story, pink-brick structure was built in 1867 by the one-time United States representative.
William P. Hepburn House, Clarinda
Colonel Hepburn was a U.S. Congressman who, as a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, negotiated the Panama Canal agreement. Hepburn hosted President Theodore Roosevelt in Clarinda in 1903. The Hepburn house is closed to the public.
Van Allen and Company Department Store, Clinton
This building, designed by renowned architect Louis Sullivan, is a four-story, steel-frame skeleton, faced with brick, and has exuberant terra-cotta ornamentation at the attic level. The first floor contains retail stores.
Historic General Dodge House, Council Bluffs
Grenville and Mrs. Dodge constructed this 14-room, three-story Victorian house in 1869. Dodge, a Civil War general, railroad builder, banker and politician, was very involved in the planning, making several modification including central heating and hot and cold running water.
Fort Des Moines Provisional Army Officer Training School, Des Moines
In 1917, 639 captains and lieutenants graduated from this facility, America’s first officer training school for black soldiers. These brave men helped lead America into battle during World War I.
Terrace Hill, Des Moines
This opulent 1869 Victorian mansion was built by Iowa’s first millionaire, Benjamin F. Allen, and currently serves as Iowa’s governor’s residence. Terrace Hill overlooks downtown Des Moines and is situated on eight acres with a Victorian formal garden.
The 1857 Old Jail Museum, Dubuque
This 1857 example of Egyptian Revival architecture houses interesting artifacts from the Dubuque County Historical Society collection. See Dubuque’s history through the eyes of a ghost when you watch “The Hanging of Patrick O’Connor” – an exciting light and sound show.
Julien Dubuque’s Mines / Mines of Spain Recreation Area, Dubuque
This landmark includes hundreds of archaeological sites, providing a rich history of American Indian settlement, lead mining, fur trading, lumbering and farm life. Site includes 14 miles of trails, river overlooks, prairies and an interpretive center.
William M. Black Dredge, Dubuque
This working 1934 dredge boat once roamed the Missouri River. Today tour the engine room and pilothouse, and experience an overnight in a stateroom to see what life was like on a working steamboat.
Blood Run Site, Granite
Intertribal and ceremonial center for the Oneota and Prairie Dakota tribes from 900 to 1720 A.D. Located along the Big Sioux River and and Blood Run Creek, the site includes burial mounds and village sites that are accessible by foot.
Merchants National Bank, Grinnell
Constructed in 1914, this simple cubical-plan structure is one of the best examples of the “jewel box” banks designed by Louis Sullivan late in his career. Today the restored building houses a number of civic organizations.
Old Capitol, Iowa City
Restored to reflect the years it served as the last capitol of the Iowa Territory (1842-1846), the first state capitol (1846-1857) and The University of Iowa’s first building. Self-guided tour and changing exhibition galleries reflect Iowa’s history, culture and heritage.
George M. Verity Towboat, Keokuk
The George M. Verity paddlewheel steamboat was built in 1927 in Dubuque and retired in 1960. View its original boiler, machinery, crew quarters and pilothouse. Photos of 19th century riverboats and artifacts of the steamboat era are also displayed.
Lone Star Steamboat, Le Claire
The Lone Star Steamer, the last wooden-hull sternwheeler, is housed in the Buffalo Bill Museum. Constructed in 1868, the boat plied the waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers. The Museum serves as a tribute to legendary native “Buffalo Bill” Cody as well as a memorial to American Indians, pioneers and steamboat days.
Reverend George B. Hitchcock House, Lewis
Hitchcock House was built in 1856 by Reverend George Hitchcock, a Congregational minister and served as a station on the Underground Railroad. In 2001, the home was recognized as a National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site.
Davis Oriole Earth Lodge Site, Mills County
Estimated to be nearly a thousand years old, the Davis Oriole Earth Lodge Site is buried underground in a park near Pacific Junction. The U.S. Department of Interior describes it as one of the best preserved house sites of the Central Plains tradition. A replica of the Earth Lodge can be found in Glenwood (above ground and open for tours).
Sergeant Floyd Monument, Sioux City
This 100-foot-tall white stone obelisk was the first registered National Historic Landmark in the United States. Overlooking Sioux City and the Missouri River valley, it marks the burial place of Sergeant Charles Floyd, the only fatality of the 1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Sergeant Floyd Monument
Sergeant Floyd Towboat, Sioux City
This diesel inspection ship plied the inland waterways for 50 years as the flagship of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction fleet. See the history of Missouri River transportation through rare photos, artifacts and dioramas. View one of America’s largest displays of scale Missouri River steamboat and keelboat models.
Woodbury County Courthouse, Sioux City
This brick, Prairie-style building was designed by William LaBarthe Steele and built in 1918. The structure is adorned with thousands of colorful tiles depicting panoramic scenes on the first two interior floors and topped by a stained-glass dome.
Toolesboro Mound Group, Wapello
The Hopewellian mounds at Toolesboro are among the best-preserved and accessible remnants of an ancient culture flourishing from around 200 B.C. to 300 A.D. The five-acre site includes several large surviving mounds, an education center and a prairie demonstration plot.
Herbert Hoover Birthplace, West Branch
The grounds of this presidential library and museum include President Hoover’s birthplace cottage, grave sites of President Hoover and Mrs. Lou Henry Hoover, a reconstructed blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse and 76-acre tall-grass prairie. The visitor center, administered by the National Park Service, interprets the early life of Hoover in Iowa. Temporary gallery offers changing exhibits relating to American history.
Iowa also has two protected archaeological sites that are included on the registry of National Historic Landmarks but are not open to the public: Indian Village Site (Wittrock Area) and Phipps Site.
« Return to History