The Winnebago Manufacturing Company in Forest City, established Heritage Park of North Iowa. The purpose of the park is to promote tourism by educating and entertaining the public and to preserve the history of North Iowa for future generations. The 90-acre park, with over 40 buildings, was a joint venture. In 1988, Hanlontown Community Club, Hill City Tractor Club, the Holton Farm Museum, Timberland Museum, Tri-County Antique Power Club and Winnebago Historical Society, all made commitments toward either participating in farm shows, financing, leasing land, moving, or sponsoring events to realize the dream of Heritage Park. Since the establishment of the park, additional businesses and foundations have combined in an effort to continue funding the venture.
Special events are held throughout the year at Heritage Park. The Heritage Festival and Heritage Park Tractor Ride are tourist favorites. The Tractor Pull is growing in popularity. Families with children enjoy Kite Day at the park. Visitors travel great distances to attend special events. The Old Iron Swap Meet and Consignment Sale are enjoyed by local collectors and tourists alike. Special memories are created at the Christmas Service and Supper, and Annual Light Show. The Steam School, Steam Spring Up, and Steam Threshing Days, are all popular events with homeschoolers and school field trips. Animal lovers will be delighted to attend the Annual Horse and Mule event.
Many historical buildings are located throughout the park. Beaver Creek Church, constructed in the 1890's, is located within Heritage Park. The church holds Ecumenical Services each Sunday at 9 a.m. Reverend Doug Snyder serves as the residential pastor. Park guests may step back in time with a tour through the Dahlum Log House. Ellington School House is a typical 19th-century prairie school house that was moved to the park. A Norwegian Stabbur is located on the grounds, which is a storage building originally utilized by Nordic people for clothes, cheeses, grains, and other food supplies that were prepared during the summer months. The food supplies would assure the Nordic people ample supplies to sustain families during the winter months. Visitors may view an 1800's Norwegian-style Trappers Cabin constructed of logs with protruding ends. In addition, guests may tour a barber shop, general store, jail, and other buildings.
Children and adults alike will enjoy the trolley rides around the beautiful grounds of the park. Fortunate visitors may view a quilting demonstration. Beautiful quilts, paintings, and other crafts are on display throughout the park. Park demonstrations include burr mills, corn shelling and shredding, plowing, sawmill operation, shingle production, sorghum syrup processing, spinning wool, and threshing. Many of the buildings house American Indian artifact displays, antique vehicles, chain saws, farm equipment, fire engines, fossils, turn of the century furniture, household utensils, looms, machinery, minerals, tractors, steam engines, and wood carvings.
Forest City is located approximately 120 miles north of Des Moines. Driving directions and contact information are located online. Although daily admission to the park is free, admission is charged during many of the events. Tickets for events may be purchased in advance on the website. Schools and organizations may call to schedule special tours.
Photo compliments of Heritage Park Facebook Page.