Terrace Hill, the Iowa Governor’s Residence since 1971, has recently reopened its doors to visitors for the 2017 season.
As a native Iowan, I have been aware of the residence since childhood and have even been to an event at the historical landmark. But not until I took a guided tour of the home did I know just how much work went into building it, how much history it contains, and how much effort goes into preserving that history for the edification of Iowans, Americans, and interested visitors from all over the world.
Tours meet and begin in the Carriage House. Separate from the residence and once used to house horse-drawn carriages, the Carriage House now serves as a visitors’ center. Plenty of seating is available for those who arrive early. Early birds can also peruse the various items on exhibition and browse (not to mention, purchase) souvenirs in the gift shop.
A short video at the beginning of the tour provides some background about how the house came to be built and who owned it before it became home to Iowa’s governors. After the video, the tour moves to the house itself, where visitors will have an opportunity to view rooms on the first and second floor while learning about the craftsmanship, furniture, and accessories that adorn the living museum. Of course, they will also hear stories about the lives of the people who inhabited the beautiful home. A walk around the grounds will lead back to the Carriage House, for another chance to scope out the gift shop.
If my guided visit to Terrace Hill was typical of others, then tours may be expected to last about an hour. Your memories of the tour, however, will last much longer.
Tours of Terrace Hill are offered Tuesday through Saturday at 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, and 1:30 PM. There is a $5 admission fee for adults and a $2 admission fee for children ages 6-12. Children under 6 are allowed in for free. For information about directions, parking, and scheduling a group tour—and for tons of background information that you can use to impress your tour guide—visit Terrace Hill online.