CURRENT HOURS: Closed for touring, Open by reservation for Programs and Events

The town of Walnut Hill represents a post-Civil War community in the Iowa farm belt. The major interpretive theme of the town is the interdependence between farmers and the craftsmen and merchants of the town. The 1876 town of Walnut Hill is a supply center for the farmers in the surrounding area.

In Walnut Hill, craftsmen have opened shops, such as Matthias’s Blacksmith Shop and Walnut Hill Broom Works. Greteman Brothers General Store is stocked with many reproductions of 1876 items and has a large inventory of small items for sale. The town also includes the Walnut Hill School, Dr. Armstrong’s Office, Taylor’s Law Office, Heck Vet Clinic, Walnut Hill Bank, The Advocate Newspaper, Mrs. Elliott’s Millinery, Schafer Drug Store, The Church of the Land, New Hope Cemetery, Tangen Implement Warehouse and the Tangen Family Home.

In the 1876 town, you can see evidence of the Industrial Revolution in the mass-produced furniture of the upper-class home and the factory goods in the general store. When railroads arrived at towns like this, the craftsmen gradually disappeared, being undersold by eastern factories, and the towns shifted even more heavily to service and retail functions. The railroad will always be a few years away for Walnut Hill.

On most days throughout our regular season, there will be Historic Interpreters in at least 10 of the structures in town, who can offer information about their site. In those buildings that do not have a staff member that day, look for a QR code you can scan with your mobile phone to view a brief video with more information.

Near Walnut Hill, guests can discover the Italianate Victorian Flynn Mansion and adjoining Flynn Barn. This elegant home and barn were built in 1870 by Martin and Ellen Flynn as the cornerstone of a large and prosperous farming operation. Both structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Town Fun Facts

blacksmith anvil

A blacksmith in a town such as Walnut Hill would spend most of his time repairing farm machinery for local customers.


Being a milliner was one of the few acceptable and respected women’s professions in 1876. The average milliner earned around $2/day, in a time where the minimum wage was $1/day.

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Often the first business in a community, it was not unusual for a general store to be the designated local post office station.


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