American Gothic House in Eldon is a true Iowa treasure

October 23, 2017

The "American Gothic" painting is perhaps one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. Iowa native Grant Wood's painting of the dour faced farm couple, complete with a pitchfork and overalls and standing in front of an old farm house with unique windows, is truly iconic.

 

The painting belongs to the Art Institute of Chicago, but did you know the house in the painting is actually in rural Iowa? Better yet, it's even available for you to visit!

 On my way back to Des Moines from a full day in the Villages of Van Buren last Sunday (the 15th), I stopped in the little community of Eldon, which is south of Ottumwa. I was impressed by the park-like setting that has been created around the house. 

Since Eldon is not very big and they are clearly quite proud of their claim to fame, it's not hard to find the house. It's on the edge of town and there are plenty of signs to direct you. 

 

They have ample parking and have, in recent years, added an American Gothic House Center. Since I was there late in the afternoon on a Sunday, the center was unfortunately closed. I will definitely aim to return sometime when the center is open. They have information about the artist, the house, and a gift shop, among other things. Apparently, they even have some props that you can borrow to ensure your own re-enactment is more legit.

 

 

  

 

 

 

In the approximately 15 minutes that I stopped, there were two couples also visiting. One was from Iowa and the other couple was from New York but they were college professors who were driving from Minneapolis to Des Moines and Des Moines to St. Louis and saw the sign along the highway. Both couples were awkwardly trying to take selfies, so I stepped in as their photographer. Perhaps, my handiwork will end up as someone's Christmas card photo? 

 

Unfortunately, nobody stayed around to take a photo for me. I guess that is okay, I didn't have a "farm wife" to stand next to me anyway. 

Check out the American Gothic House Center's Facebook page to learn more about the center and the house and some of their upcoming events. As I mentioned, I need to stop back when I'm in the area again to take a better picture and check out the center.

 

If you have suggestions for future stops on an adventure, please be sure to drop me a note on my Contact / Suggest an Adventure page on my site. I would love to hear from you.

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