Montgomery County Courthouse
Montgomery County Courthouse

Discover southwest Iowa's historic sites and intriguing past with this historic road trip experience. Through exploration of Red Oak, Villisca and Stanton, you'll find neverending history presenting the roots of all sides of Iowa, from dark and mysterious murders to settlement and WWII stories.

Villisca Ax Murder House, Villisca Iowa
Villisca Ax Murder House

Where to Go

1. Villisca Ax Murder House

Though quaint, this quiet residential home in Villisca is actually the site of the largest unsolved crime in Iowa. In June of 1912, an unknown murder entered this home and murdered the entire family of Josiah Moore as well as two overnight guests, and today is believed to house paranormal activity. Learn more about the home with a guided day tour or test your bravery with an overnight group stay.

2. Swedish Heritage & Cultural Center

Discover the fascinating stories within the Swedish immigration and the founding of Stanton. This museum features artifacts and photos of Stanton's history into the 20th century as well as a restored 1930-1950 classroom, a 1900-1940 timeline, a children's home exhibit, genealogy library and Swedish history and culture. The center is also the new home of the renowned "world's largest Swedish coffeepot."

3. The Restored Burlington Northern Depot & WWII Memorial Museum

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this restored 1903 depot in Red Oak houses exciting history from WWII as well as a miniature train exhibit, theater, reading room containing military and railroad volumes and a gift shop.

Where to Eat

1. Casa De Oro

This full menu Mexican restaurant is a family owned business that provides amazing flavors in Red Oak and across Iowa. Stop by for a delicious and filling meal or try their margaritas, which they claim are the best in the county.

2. TJ's Cafe

Experience the best of Iowa's home-cooked meals with a stop at this area-famous diner in Villisca. TJ's is especially known for their hand-cut, hand-breaded tenderloins, fresh pattied burgers and delicious homemade pies.

Where to Stay

Red Coach Inn & Suites

End the day with a relaxing night at this hotel in Red Oak. Grab a bite to eat at the adjoining full-service restaurant, get a workout in at their fitness center or take a therapeutic dip in their indoor heated pool and whirlpool.