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Visit Scenic, Historic Elkader
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Visit Scenic, Historic Elkader

Scenic Elkader, first incorporated in 1891, describes itself as “A Great American Main Street Community” and this lovely, welcoming northeast Iowa town doesn’t disappoint the visitor.

The National Register of Historic Places features a total of no less than nine sites in Elkader, details of which are given on the Town’s very own website. If you’re interested in history, you can take a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide from the Historical Society to learn more about this quaint and scenic place. If you prefer to find your own way and explore ‘freestyle’, there is a self-guided walking tour of Elkader which takes in the majority of the historic sites of architectural interest situated in this characterful, riverside town.

Elkader takes its name from the Emir Abdel Kader. Kader was an Arabian prince, also known as the ‘father of modern Algeria’ who was much lauded for his fight against the French invaders in the early 1830s. The American residents drew comparisons with their own efforts to drive out the colonists from Britain and thus in memory of Kader and in recognition of his actions, Elkader was adopted as the name of their new town.

The visitor will find a total of 27 different sites of historic interest in the town, including the sites featured on the National Register of Historic Places. Begin your tour on Main Street at the Opera House; stroll around the corner to the Glesne Hardware Store (circa 1891). The store is still run today by the Glesne family, making it the oldest surviving business still trading in Elkader. A little further down the street you’ll find the Clayton County Register which was originally founded as the Elkader Register in 1878.

The amateur historian and casual sightseer can also enjoy several houses which date right back to the 1800s together with several churches, the County Jail, County Asylum, County Courthouse and two museums.

Elkader, IA 52043


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