Tours for 2022 Steam Threshing Festival
Thur., June 16 at 9:00 A.M. and Friday, June 17 at 12:00 P.M (noon).: Winnebago Plant Tours
Tours of the Winnebago plant will be offered both Thursday at 9:00 A.M. and Friday at 12:00 p.m. (noon). There will be no charge for these tours. Participants are required to complete this form before they can participate. Buses will transport participants from gate to the campground at north end of the park by the horse barn to the Winnebago factory.
Friday, June 17, 8 a.m.: Tour departs for Charles City
Visit historical sites in and near Charles City. We will tour the Floyd County Museum, which has a variety of exhibits that cover the history of Floyd County. There you can step inside the pioneer log cabin and get a feel for what it was like living in Iowa in the early 1800s. You can also walk through the fully stocked Legel Drugstore, which is quite impressive with over 50,000 items in the store. Also on display are exhibits on the early inhabitants of Iowa, Dr. Salsbury and his lab (which were located in the very building that now houses the museum), and other historic businesses. Of course, be sure to check out the wing dedicated to the Oliver Corporation, its history, and its impact on Charles City. On display are multiple tractors, including; Hart-Parr no. 1, the XO121 experimental, major assemblies of what was to be the Corporate tractor, and the newly arrived Dyno Test Car that was used at the Charles City plant. While at the museum there will also be small group presentations you can enjoy. The topics for these include; a virtual history of the Oliver plant in Charles City by Dean Tjaden, the Oliver collection and materials found at the museum by Sara Renaud, and color selections for Hart-Parr, Oliver, and White tractors by Blane Bolte.
Those interested in visiting Carrie Chapman Catt’s Childhood Home instead of the Floyd County Museum can stay on the bus and take a short ride south of Charles City. Carrie Chapman Catt was a suffrage and peace activist who was instrumental in securing the right to vote for women. Her childhood home, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has been restored and open to tours. You can also visit the small museum on-site and enjoy a short walk about the well-maintained property. At 11:30, those who visited the childhood home of Carrie Chapman Catt will return to the Floyd County Museum to enjoy a catered lunch with the rest of the tour group that will be served at noon.
After lunch we will take a bus drive-by tour of what used to be the Oliver Plant, narrated by Dean Tjaden. Sadly, the buildings have long been removed from the property, but this tour, along with Tjaden’s presentation at the museum, will help you visualize where the buildings were located and what jobs were performed in that building. We plan to return to Heritage Park around 3:30.
Friday, June 17 at 8:30 a.m. Tour departs for Algona area
Visit the museums in Algona and the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. We start out the tour at the Kossuth County Agriculture & Motorsports Museum. There you will see the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame. The museum honors and remembers the rich history and heritage of agriculture and motorsports in Kossuth County. Tractors, farm antiques, race cars, and racing memorabilia are on display. The walls are covered with Russell Sonnenberg’s paintings of farm tractors and machinery. His scenes reflect many tractor brands dating back to the forties and fifties. Also on exhibit is the Benschoter Train Station featuring working scale model “O” gauge trains believed to be one of the largest train displays in the Midwest. The table display measures 40 ft by 60 ft.
Next, we will visit the Algona Nativity Scene Museum. The scene was built by six German Prisoners of War while held at Camp Algona during WWII. The display includes 65 half-life-sized figures made of cement over a wooded frame. They were then covered with a bright coat of paint.
Next we will go downtown Algona to visit the Kossuth County Historical Society and Museum. The main building was built in 1867 and served as the first schoolhouse. Then in 1885, it served as the G.A.R. Hall and then a library. In 1919 it became the Legion Hall. The Historical Society took possession in 1967 and turned it into a museum. There are displays of vintage clothing, a military display, a collection of butter churns, toys, corn planters, tilling tools, old paper items, and numerous other antiques found in a county historical museum. The other building is the last Prairie Front building in Algona. Artifacts are housed on the first floor, and the second floor is the library.
We will also visit the Camp Algona Prisoner of War Museum. During WWII there was a Prisoner of War Camp in Algona. Ten thousand prisoners were housed here from April 1944 to February 1946. Exhibits at the museum tell about the story of the prisoners and their experiences at the war camp.
Lunch will be on your own in downtown Algona. There are several restaurants to choose from.
We get back on the coach and travel to West Bend to tour the Grotto of the Redemptions. The grotto is composed of nine separate grottos portraying scenes in the life of Christ. Father Paul Dobberstein started the construction of the grotto in 1912. It took him 42 years to finish it, building it all by hand. Often called the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” it covers one city block and is the largest man-made grotto in the world. The grotto contains the largest collection of precious stones and gems found anywhere in one location, including petrified wood, stalactite and stalagmite, malachite, jasper, quartz, crystals, and many more Italian Mosaic and Carrara Marble statues adorn the geological wonder. We will return to Heritage Park around 5:30.
Heritage Park of North Iowa
For individuals and families in the extended Forest City, Iowa area who enjoy learning about history and appreciate an opportunity for hands-on experiences, Heritage Park of North Iowa provides high-quality historical collections, rare displays, diverse exhibits and active demonstrations. For anyone interested in an entertainment or gathering venue, Heritage Park provides a well-maintained and attractive setting to accommodate small and very large crowds.