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Monday, April 18, 2016


Nestled along the banks of the Wapsipinicon River, is the historic village of Stone City, Iowa. While most people know of this town from its depiction in the painting, Stone City, by Iowa artist Grant Wood, the community actually has a rich history. Founded in 1850, the town was originally set up as a company town to house the workers for the nearby stone quarries.

The famous painting of Stone City by Iowa artist Grant Wood.

The Blacksmith Shop.

St. Joseph Catholic Church.

The Dearborn home.

In the late 1800’s John Green, Henry Dearborn, and John Ronan, each opened limestone quarries in the area, and with the westward expansion of the railroad, large shipments of limestone made their way to neighboring states. From 1859 to 1895 alone, over 150,000 railroad cars of limestone were shipped out of Stone City.

This stone barn housed the draft horses used in the quarries.

The quarry office.

The Ronan house.

The water tower on the Ronan property.

From the turn of the century to the 1950’s, the use of stone in construction decreased drastically with the production of Portland Cement, and the thriving little community of Stone City started to decline, and many of its beautiful stone buildings were torn down. Fortunately, through the vision of George Nissan, many of the stone structures were developed and converted into private homes. Todsy most of the town’s building are listed on the Historical Register.

The front of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

The Green mansion was destroyed by fire in 1963, 
and the ruins were torn down in the 1990's.

The General Store.

The Schoolhouse. 

In the mid 1950's, stone production experienced a revival, and the quarries once again saw a boon in business that has continued to this day. Nowadays, Stone City limestone may be found not only throughout the Midwest, but most of the country as well.

***What fun historic villages are in your area?

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