If uncovering a place’s history is your favorite pursuit, we invite you to learn our area’s story by visiting our historic sites. Coralville’s Old Town Hall was built by pioneer residents in the 1880’s. Built as a church, town hall, and community gathering space, the building has been the site of meetings, church services, social events, businesses, and at one time housed the town jail. It has been saved from demolition twice. It was relocated from the south side to the north side of 5th Street and repaired in 2014 and now sits right across from the 1876 Coralville School House.
Next, dive into family history at Plum Grove Historic Home in Iowa City. It was the residence of Robert Lucas and his family, who was appointed by President Van Buren as the first governor of the Territory of Iowa in 1838 and served as governor until 1841. They built Plum Grove in 1844 on 360 acres of land with an extensive orchard of plum trees. You can arrange to tour the grounds as well as the historic vegetable and flower gardens, both part of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens.
With deep roots in our university’s history, the Pentacrest Museums are a must-visit. Established in 1858, the Museum of Natural History is the second oldest museum in the United States west of the Mississippi River. Curious minds can see the natural world through exhibits, programs and collections.
Next door, the Old Capitol Museum showcases exhibits, the Senate and Supreme Court Chambers, and a reverse-spiral staircase below its signature golden dome. Enjoy dinner at Pullman Bar & Diner, a restaurant designed to feel like a train car that offers excellent dishes.
Spend the night and take a next-day trip to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum & Library, located just a 15 minute drive to the east in West Branch. View the Herbert Hoover galleries, a permanent exhibit, or explore rotating exhibits highlighting the “Great Humanitarian” who served during the Great Depression era. The site is one of only 14 Presidential Library & Museums in the country Iowa’s only president.