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Impact of World War II at the Carter House Museum
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Impact of World War II at the Carter House Museum

What was the impact of “World War II and the Home Front” for Iowa? Take a trip back in time through the green cornfields, tree-lined hills, and rocky limestone bluffs of Clayton County at the Carter House Museum in Elkader, Iowa. 

When you arrive in the small town of Elkader, Iowa, you'll soon come across the historic Keystone Bridge that runs over the Turkey River. Not long after, the museum will come into view with the red-brick exterior, vibrant green shutters, and white trim and pillars. Stepping into the Carter House Museum is like stepping back in time. This historic 18-room mansion was built in the 1850’s by Henry and Ernest Carter. The Greek Revival style mansion is unlike most 21st century homes.

Today, the Carter House Museum is owned and operated by the Elkader Historical Society. It is their mission to help you explore the 19th-century style of living with things that were typical of Iowans at that time in history, including things like furniture and clothing.

This year, the Carter House has a theme that focuses on World War II. The annex is dedicated to “World War II and the Home Front,” with artifacts from the 1940’s. You can learn how this directly affected Iowa families. You'll see the various roles women had during the war: being head of the household, being part of the workforce, going without many necessities, and the start of rations. Rationing became part of everything from gasoline to shoes to food. You can even see a uniform from World War II, ration books, and cookbooks with no-sugar recipes.

The Carter House Board has also put together information boards for visitors with facts, photos and even newspaper clipping from the local newspaper, the Clayton County Register. You will find information the Buckner’s, Costigan’s, and Syverson’s military experience.

So, what are you waiting for? Come to the Carter House Museum for a historical exploration of history in Elkader, Iowa!

Image credit: Darla Kelchen CCDG

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