The pictured railroad depot in the Howard County town of Elma was constructed in 1901, after a fire destroyed the community’s original station along the Chicago and Great Western Railway. As the twentieth century progressed and railroad prominence declined, Elma saw the last passenger train stop at the depot on April 28, 1962. The depot remained open for freight travel purposes until 1971, when several depots were closed in favor of a centralized location in New Hampton. A decade later, freight trains were discontinued on the line, and track was removed in April 1982.
After sitting vacant for over ten years, resident Kenny Stevenson initiated the restoration of the historic Elma depot. The depot now serves as a museum highlighting rail travel in Elma and other local artifacts. It’s operated by the Elma Museum Board and open weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Located on the north side of the square in the Floyd County community of Charles City, the Carnegie library building was constructed in 1904 at a cost of $10,000. It housed the Charles City Public Library until 1979, when a new facility was constructed. Fortunately, the historic building has new life as the Charles City Arts Center, which features exhibits, studio and classroom space, and is open to the public four days each week.
Each month works from a regional artist are displayed, with a reception held the first Friday of each exhibition. Community members looking for space to create their art can use the center’s free studio space, open to the public at no cost on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Check out the Charles City Arts Center website for more information, including hours, current exhibition details, and upcoming special events and classes.
Constructed in 1857 at a cost of $40,000, the former Dubuque County Jail is one of a handful of Egyptian Revival buildings remaining in the United States. Featuring 18-inch gray limestone walls, the building functioned as a jail until 1971. A few years later, the Dubuque Art Association leased the building for use as a museum, an arrangement that remained in place through 2003. When the Association moved to a remodeled bank building in 2003, the Dubuque County Historical Society established the Old Jail Museum in the historic facility.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The Dubuque County town of Dyersville’s founder, James “Judge” Dyer, Jr., constructed this victorian-style home in 1850, just three years after the town was planted. It’s now a museum, owned and operated by the Dyersville Area Historical Society and has been restored and furnished with antiques from the late nineteenth century. In addition to the historic furnishings, over 1,000 dolls are on display. The museum is open daily May 1 through November 1.
Dating to 1892, the Old Creamery Museum in Northwood is one of nine sites owned and operated by the Worth County Historical Society. The society purchased the building in 1981, about thirty years after operation ceased at the creamery. The museum includes a number of antiques, including tools, creamery equipment, and a working print shop. It’s open Sunday afternoons from Memorial Day to Labor Day or by appointment by calling (641) 324-1180.