Let's talk tourism for a moment, shall we? After all, America's Hometown has plenty to talk about!
We'll start at the Floyd County Historical Society Museum and its over 10,000 items displayed in more than 40 different exhibits including a restored turn-of-the-century pharmacy and drug store, a log cabin from the 1800s and an extensive antique tractor collection. Being the birthplace of the American tractor, you better believe this is a must stop for any tractor enthusiast!
Charles City has a number of homes, businesses, a suspension bridge and even a golf course that are on the National Register of Historic Places. The suspension bridge, which was built in 1906 and is still fully-functional today, is a particularly popular stop, with its scenic view and tranquil setting. Want more history? How about the childhood home of Carrie Lane Chapman Catt, one of the pioneers of the national women's rights movement? The founder of the League of Women Voters grew up just outside of Charles City and The National 19th Amendment Society founded to preserve her memory is in the process of restoring her old home and turning it into a museum.
The Miller House at 1107 Court St., built with limestone in 1950, is one of the last designs of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The historic Sherman Nursery office building, built of stone in 1906, is also an impressive limestone structure worth seeing. For something not quite as old but definitely fun to check out, there's King's Nature Ranch with its herds of ostrich and elk. Tours are also available. Make sure you call ahead for reservations. There is plenty to see and do in the immediate area around Charles City too, including a trip to the famous Little Brown Church in the Vale in nearby Nashua. This historic little church built in 1864, inspired the hymn ‘Little Brown Church in the Vale' by Dr. William Pitts, and annually draws more than 60,000 visitors.
The adjacent Bradford Pioneer Village features the office used by Dr. Pitts, restored log cabins, a rural school, pioneer home and more. Another big area draw is the Rockford Fossil & Prairie Park, which has been called a “collector's paradise and a scholar's classroom.” Fossils from this Devonian era (350-400 million years ago), can be found in museums all over the world, including the National Museum of History and the Smithsonian Institution. The 186-acre park provides the opportunity as well for the study of geology, prairie, wetlands and the Creeping Juniper. Several miles of hiking trails and a modern nature center add to the attractions of this special park. Other area attractions around Charles City include the Spirit of Greene riverboat cruise, the Spotts Round Barn, the old Rock Island Depot and Stone House Gallery in Greene, the Greenman Carriage Co. in Floyd and the Marble Rock Historical Museum and 1912 Power House. A list of historic places in and around Charles City is available from the Chamber of Commerce office at (641) 228-4234 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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