Recognized as the largest rural Danish settlement in the United States, Elk Horn sits in the heart of southwest Iowa’s picturesque countryside. Since Danish immigrants arrived in the 1870s, the community has since grown into a vibrant destination featuring small town charm and a European experience that can be enjoyed without a passport.
Start your historical adventure at the Danish Windmill, which was relocated to Elk Horn from Denmark. This 60’ working windmill has become one of the largest tourism attractions in Iowa and allows visitors to climb to the top of the mill, see the grinding stones and admire the spinning wings on a windy day. Open daily, the mill also features a gift shop selling lovely Danish collectibles, books, jewelry, food and unique gifts.
While visiting the mill complex, guests can also experience the Morning Star Chapel, once dubbed the world's tiniest church. Or learn about the viking life with a step inside Viking Hjem, a 900 A.D. viking smithy’s home that features a woodworking area and blacksmith shop with an attached Viking Age living space.
Just a few blocks away, you can tour Bedstemor’s House, a charming historical home that translates to Grandmother’s House. Owned and operated by the Museum of Danish America, the home is completely furnished to replicate the period between 1910 and 1920, when young Danish American families would have lived there.
Finally, complete your Elk Horn history lesson at the Museum of Danish America. Take a self-guided tour to experience the full journey of Danish immigrants, from deciding to leave Denmark to establishing new homes, schools and churches in America. Exhibits include the first piano of famous Danish immigrant Victor Borge, the Danish Immigrant Wall of Honor and the Family History and Genealogy Center.
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Find other great attractions for an Elk Horn getaway and learn even more area history by visiting the Danish Windmill's website.