History of Walnut Grove Pioneer Village in Iowa ~ Pictures ~ A Look Back

Walnut Grove Pioneer Village in Long Grove, Iowa

St. Ann's Church in background with a couple of the old cabins in Walnut Grove Pioneer Village
St. Ann's Church in background with a couple of the old cabins in Walnut Grove Pioneer Village | Source

Historic buildings


The school, blacksmith shop and at least one of the cabins were all original to this site and the remaining total of 18 historic structures were relocated to this three-acre area from other locations where the buildings might have been in danger of neglect or eventual demolition.

A stage coach stop in the 1860's, this original settlement of Walnut Grove would have been a hub of activity for that day and time. There was a grist mill and people came from the surrounding farmlands to this site to also receive and send their mail.

Walnut Grove Pioneer Village


This article addresses looking back into a bygone era and learning some history by visiting the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village in Iowa.

Not too far from where my aunt and uncle live in Iowa is the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village. It is located at 18817 290th Street, Long Grove, Iowa 52756. It is a part of Scott County Park and the pioneer village provides a tangible and interactive history lesson as one can step back into time and see how people used to live and work from the 1830's to the 1930's.

Except for special occasions where charges might be incurred, the park is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, from April to October, and the admission is free.



St. Ann's Church


St. Ann's Church (c. 1853 - 1870) was relocated to this spot. It is a beautiful little white steepled Catholic Church with an ornate altar and colorful stained glass windows.

Today it can be utilized for weddings and some newlyweds choose to have their nuptials performed in this charming little historic church.


Interior photos of St. Ann's Church in Walnut Grove

Ornate altar inside St. Ann's Church (c. 1853 - 1870 )
Ornate altar inside St. Ann's Church (c. 1853 - 1870 ) | Source
St. Ann's Church in Walnut Grove
St. Ann's Church in Walnut Grove | Source

Walnut Grove Bank photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Old free standing safe from the former German Savings Bank in EldridgeExterior of bank buildingOutside of the bank
Old free standing safe from the former German Savings Bank in Eldridge
Old free standing safe from the former German Savings Bank in Eldridge | Source
Exterior of bank building
Exterior of bank building | Source
Outside of the bank
Outside of the bank | Source


The Walnut Grove Bank


The Walnut Grove Bank building (c. 1890) has an interesting free standing safe relocated from another bank, the German Savings Bank, in Eldridge.

I wonder if there were any bandits that ever succeeded in robbing that secure looking safe?


Keppy and Nagle General Store


The Keppy & Nagle General Store is filled with crocks, jars and other containers that would have held the usual supplies offered for sale in those days of yesteryear's.

All of these historic buildings are open for viewing. Some of them have bars or screening through which one can view the room contents so that they stay untouched and in good shape for everyone to enjoy.


The Keppy & Nagle General Store

Inside view of the store.
Inside view of the store. | Source
Outside view of the Keppy & Nagle General Store
Outside view of the Keppy & Nagle General Store | Source

Butler Township Schoolhouse #2


The one roomed Butler Township Schoolhouse #2 (c. 1870) is typically furnished with the double wooden desks and a pot bellied stove for use as a heater in the center of the room. Adorning the walls were the slate blackboards along with framed photos of United States Presidents and geography maps of that era.

Of course every school house had a world globe and an American flag at the front of the room.

An eighth grade education was a really good one in that day and time!


Inside photos of Butler Township Schoolhouse #2 at Walnut Grove

Partial view of the one-roomed schoolhouse at Walnut Grove - (photos pieced together...windows were not crooked as this would suggest)
Partial view of the one-roomed schoolhouse at Walnut Grove - (photos pieced together...windows were not crooked as this would suggest) | Source

Additional photos I took that day at Walnut Grove Pioneer Village...

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Old railroad carsMy Aunt, Uncle & Mother outside the Donahue Train Depot, c. 1870
Old railroad cars
Old railroad cars | Source
My Aunt, Uncle & Mother outside the Donahue Train Depot, c. 1870
My Aunt, Uncle & Mother outside the Donahue Train Depot, c. 1870 | Source


Some of the other buildings that can be seen here include a barber shop, doctor's office, firehouse, saloon, carpenter shop, telephone office, soda fountain shop, two one-roomed cabins and the Donahue Train Depot (c. 1870) along with the Ox Locomotive and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Caboose # 14353.


In addition to all of this there is much old farm machinery to be viewed and a Boot-hill cemetery.

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Making history come alive!


This would be a perfect outing to take a picnic lunch and enjoy the ambiance of seeing these rural buildings dating back to pioneer days in Iowa. Restrooms are provided and picnic tables which are scattered throughout the pretty grounds provide seating.

School children are often taken there by the busloads when school is in session. Parks like this one make history come alive.

Visiting the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village was not only an enlightening step back into history for us that day, but it made for a very pleasant summer's day sojourn while we were visiting with our relatives in Iowa.



Walnut Grove Pioneer Village location...

A marker18817 290th Street, Long Grove, Iowa 52756 -
18817 290th St, Long Grove, IA 52756, USA
[get directions]

Walnut Grove Pioneer Village

To read a short bio and have full access to a library of articles by Peggy Woods which include travel articles, gardening, recipes, family stories and more...CLICK HERE.

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© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 28 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi bdegiulio,

Many people think of Iowa as having nothing but corn fields and pig farms, but it is much more than that. Hope you get to visit not only the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, but much more of the beautiful state someday. Thanks for your comment.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Very interesting Peggy, Talk about stepping back in time. I've never been to Iowa but would love to spend a day here. Thanks for sharing.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi WesternHistory,

You are probably correct in that quite a few places like Walnut Grove Pioneer Village have been preserved in various places around the country. Nice for tourists and also for children to see how people used to live and work. Makes it seem more real than just reading about it in a book. Thanks for your comment.


WesternHistory profile image

WesternHistory 5 years ago from California

Very good story. There are so many towns around the country that have a rich history dating back to the pioneer days. Probably a lot of interesting and educational stops for a tourist.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Dave,

I loved that series on television. Little House on the Prairie will live in re-runs forever (hopefully). It was a good show. Thanks for visiting Walnut Grove Pioneer Village in Iowa via this hub and thanks for your added commentary.


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