Do you enjoy bird watching? Do you know who Althea Sherman was and what she was nationally known for? Take a little road trip to Clayton County and find out. Enjoy the scenic views of Northeast Iowa on your way to the historic replica of Sherman Swift Tower, opening May 25th in National.
As you're driving through Clayton County on a sunny afternoon, enjoying the rolling hills, rocky bluffs, blooming trees, and lazy waterways, you'll eventually see a 28 foot white tall square tower. Here's where you'll learn about Althea Sherman, the illustrator, educator, author, and nationally known ornithologist. Sherman's love of birds was vast and contagious. With her art background, she created detailed and precise drawings of many bird species. One of Althea's beautiful works of art, (featuring a Gold Finch) later led to the Gold Finch actually becoming the Iowa State Bird.
Althea Sherman built Sherman Swift Tower with a false chimney in the middle to attract elusive birds. Once up on the observation deck, as you peer through the moveable wooden panels and peepholes, you can observe countless birds. It's obvious that Althea planned her perch very carefully so that she could most thoroughly observe her feathered friends. Sherman was actually the first person to study and document the nesting cycle of specific types of birds. Sherman's incredible documentation amounts fo over 400 pages. Come settle into the Sherman Swift Tower and become part of this rich Iowa natural history.
By Gianna Manternach
Image credit: CCDG