We are so glad for those who came, enjoyed and learned from our Preservation Destination 2013 in western Iowa and Omaha. Attendees came from as far away as Sioux Center, Sioux City, and eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids and Tama). Be sure to plan for next year’s event!
Stop 1 – Historic Dodge House in Council Bluffs
Preservation Destination 2013 began on September 22 featuring the Historic Dodge House (for those who drove early to be at the morning events). Two of General Grenville M. Dodge’s claims to fame are his Civil War success and his railroad career. We learned about the history of the Civil War and some of the major generals. General Dodge has been called “The greatest railroad builder of all time”.
The Victorian home we toured was built in 1869 on the edge of the frontier and overlooked the Missouri Valley. Council Bluffs, Iowa was so memorable to General Grenville M. Dodge during a railroad survey in his younger years that he chose it as his home, first in 1853 and up to 1916. It is kept as a period home but the preservation and display methods are very interesting. They have many original décor of the Dodge family. They have had many items that were earlier sold or inherited returned to the site, others are period furniture. Some rooms have original and some have reproductions of wallpaper. Some items are gifts for General Dodge.
Even though it is a period home, they try to show something different or in a new way. For example, during their Christmas tours the house is arranged with some pieces that normally are not displayed. This offers freshness to the audience and preserves the pieces displayed to have a rest time from lighting or stress on pressure points such as seams. They use their closet spaces for display and not only for storage.
Finally the historic neighborhoods have developed into active supporters for the Dodge home as volunteers for their many events throughout the year. They also have supported the preservation of the neighborhoods. We received a Gibralter Neighborhood Garden Walk handout with the addresses of homes with the history of its original owners, time built, and the style of home it represented. No two homes are alike in these blocks around the Dodge home. This is one of three of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. What a great way to support your registered national historic landmark by keeping the neighborhood involved, maintained, and alive.
We encourage those who could not come to this year’s Preservation Destination to visit this museum. They have much to offer, and we learned a lot by being there.
Look for future posts detailing all four stops on the 2013 Preservation Destination!