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Winterset, Iowa ~ Photos of City Park with Covered Bridge and Pioneer Log Cabin

Updated on August 9, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Cutler- Donahoe Covered Bridge in Winterset, Iowa City Park
Cutler- Donahoe Covered Bridge in Winterset, Iowa City Park | Source

Visiting Iowa

My mother and I have had several occasions to visit the small town of Winterset, Iowa. We have relatives living in Bettendorf, Iowa. Often while on vacation, we liked seeing things of interest while heading on up to our final destination and also on our return trip home to Houston, Texas.

Since we were driving our own car, this was easy to accomplish.

I have several reference books at home and would research things of interest when planning a driving trip.

On our first trip to Winterset, my young niece was with us. That time we stopped to see the birthplace of the actor John Wayne. A post has already been written showing photos of the tiny home in which he and his family lived for a time.

On the next occasion my mother and I spent some time wandering through the gorgeous and historic city park in Winterset of which photos will be shown.

Fall colors in the Winterset City Park
Fall colors in the Winterset City Park | Source

Winterset, Iowa

This small town was first drawn and laid out (platted) in the year 1849. This area was pretty much prairie land back then and was perfect for farming.

As of the 2000 census, this town is still small having only 4,768 people and consisting of a mere three and a half square miles of land.

That being said, it is the County seat of Madison County where the 1995 movie film starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood (based on the 1992 best selling book by Robert James Waller) The Bridges of Madison County was made.

Meryl Streep won an Academy Award as best actress for her performance in this romantic and sensual film.

It concerns a housewife whose family has gone to the Iowa State Fair and a photographer who is in the area filming the historic covered bridges in the area. They find themselves attracted to one another and for those who may not have seen the film you can probably surmise the rest.

(Another) Bridges of Madison County Trailer

Covered Bridges

There are six covered bridges in Madison County which have attracted many more visitors in the years since the movie The Bridges of Madison County was made. My mother and I stopped to see three of the six and one of them was right in the city park of Winterset which is what drew us to this site.

It is the Cutler-Donahoe Bridge built in 1870. This is not its original location for this 79 foot (24 meter) structure. It was moved to the City Park in Winterset in 1979 from its location near Belvington, Iowa where it spanned the North River.

Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge and my mother
Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge and my mother | Source

The reason people originally built these covered bridges was to prolong the life of the bridges. Most of the old ones are wooden and weather conditions impact the longevity. By constructing roofs and sides it was proven to lengthen the permanence and durability of the bridges by decades.

Covered Bridges of Madison County - Footage of actual bridges

Preservationists are interested in saving and maintaining the few remaining covered bridges wherever they are in the country so that people in the future can still see and experience these historic structures.

Winterset, Iowa City Park
Winterset, Iowa City Park | Source

A.W. Crawford

There was a plaque dedicated to A.W. Crawford with an image of him in this park and engraved were the following words:

In memory of A.W. Crawford whose love of nature and little children and his loyalty to his home people lead him to give $25,000.00 to make this city park possible.

A.D. 1918

That was undoubtedly a lot of money back in 1918!

Plaque dedicated to A.W. Crawford in the Winterset City Park
Plaque dedicated to A.W. Crawford in the Winterset City Park | Source

According to some public records, A.W. Crawford was born in Cincinnati and came to this part of Iowa in 1856 with his parents.

His dad was in the grocery business and he became a junior partner in A. Crawford and Son in 1872. By 1876 he and his brother George F. Crawford assumed running the business under the name Crawford Brothers.

Winterset, Iowa City Park
Winterset, Iowa City Park | Source

Andrew Bennett

While still a boy, Andrew Bennett moved to Madison County from Marion County in Indiana in 1852 when this part of Iowa was just starting to be settled by pioneering farmers and others.

There is a log cabin that was built by Andrew Bennett in 1852 that is situated in this park. It has been renovated and restored by several people and groups of people as the sign attached to it indicates.

Pioneer cabin in Winterset, Iowa City Park
Pioneer cabin in Winterset, Iowa City Park | Source

Mr. Bennett married in 1860 and had nine children.

According to a report in a Winterset paper dated December 21, 1905, "He was well known throughout the county and was everywhere respected as an upright man, worthy of the esteem he enjoyed."

This notation was made after Andrew Bennett died on December 14, 1905 at the age of 70 after a battle with cancer.

Log cabin built by Andrew Bennett in the Winterset City Park.
Log cabin built by Andrew Bennett in the Winterset City Park. | Source

The town of Winterset is only about thirty miles southwest of Iowa's capitol city of Des Moines. It is a charming little town.

In addition to John Wayne, other notable people have come from this area. They include:

  • The botanist and inventor George Washington Carver
  • Fred Clarke who is in the baseball Hall of Fame
  • The 33rd Vice-President of the United States, Henry A. Wallace who served under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Hope you enjoyed looking at Winterset, Iowa's charming city park with its historic covered bridge and pioneer log cabin half as much as my mother and I did when we visited there many years ago. Stop by and see it for yourself if you are ever in the area.

Vintage photo of Winterset, Iowa from 1907

Vintage photo of Winterset, Iowa from 1907
Vintage photo of Winterset, Iowa from 1907 | Source

Have you seen this covered bridge in Winterset, Iowa?

See results

Winterset, Iowa Location with City Park

A markerWinterset, Iowa -
Winterset, IA 50273, USA
get directions

© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are always welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Winterset, Iowa is a charming town in Iowa and this park is definitely worth a visit. Thanks for your shares. It was especially beautiful in the fall season with the colored leaves but would be fun anytime of year to visit.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Vacation planning time is almost here again. Winterset would be a good place to visit. You have lots of good information here to help people make their plans. Sharing with my followers again and posting to FB.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kimberly,

      How wonderful for you to be able to visit this landmark especially knowing that you were related.

    • profile image

      Kimberly 3 years ago

      Thank you for posting this information. I am a descendent of Andrew Bennett. My grandfather, George R Bennett flew us back to Iowa in 2000 so that we could see some of these historic landmarks.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello vandynegl,

      There are some covered bridges still in existence in other parts of the country but there are fewer of them as time passes. They are definitely a link to the past. So glad that you liked this. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      So glad that you liked this hub regarding the covered bridges located in Iowa. This one in this Winterset city park is so pretty combined with that old log cabin...quite a scenic area! Thanks!

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Very awesome information! I would like to see more covered bridges. We have one in our area.....I also enjoyed the information on the old log home! Great hub!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Revisiting this hub in order to pin it to my 'Travel' board. I think there are a lot of people who don't know about these bridges. I never watched that program about The Bridges of Madison Country, and while I know a lot of people did, I bet a lot didn't and those who did may have forgotten. Excellent hub! Going to share with my followers again too because it's vacation planning time.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      We couldn't have visited this city park during a more beautiful time of year. So glad that you enjoyed his hub. Thanks for the vote, rating and share.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      A rare sight to see covered bridges these days and these pictures of winterset city park are awesome with the spray of different colors of nature at the time of your visit. Enjoyed reading the history too.

      Voted up, rated 5 stars and shared.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Indian Chef,

      So happy to be able to introduce you to such things like covered bridges. There are not nearly as many left as in the past. Thanks for your comment, votes and the share. They were thinking of getting rid of the share button but must have reconsidered. I am glad that it is back!

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

      Peggy this is first time I am hearing about covered bridges. You do live in an area of versatility. I like your travel hubs a lot. I might never see these in my real life but I can see the pictures through your hubs. Voting up, interesting, awesome and sharing here since now the hubpage followers button is here again..it wasn't here in morning , i do not know why.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      When the movie "The Bridges of Madison County" came out, I think that people learned that there were a number of covered bridges in Iowa...but that was some years ago. So your comment comes as a good reminder for those who wish to view them in the middle of our country. Thanks for your comment and your share.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Such great photos, and like me before reading this article, I'm betting there are people who don't know there are covered bridges in Iowa. No need to go to the New England states to see them and drive through one. With vacation season almost upon us, this is a place people might want to consider visiting. Going to share this hub again because I think it is so full of great useful information and photos!

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi moonlake,

      Iowa is indeed a pretty state. We have also enjoyed driving through various parts of it several times. Thanks for your comment and vote up.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Beautiful photos. We drive through Iowa often. I love the flowers they have planted along the highway so pretty, cone flowers is one of them. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Sounds interesting...your spending time on a houseboat in Iowa. Was it on the Mississippi River? You should write a hub about it! I have never vacationed on a houseboat but it sounds intriguing. As to the covered bridges...they are fun to see. There are others in other states, but obviously they are all getting older and most are no longer being actively used. If you ever drive by Winterset, check out the city park. It is a beauty. Thanks for your comment, the 5 star rating, votes and the share.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Beautiful photos and videos. I never saw the movie, The Bridges of Madison County, so I didn't realize there were covered bridges in Iowa. Most of my time in Iowa was spent on houseboats and around corn fields (sweltering hot!). There is no heat like the heat in a corn field.

      You have another exceptional hub here and great for people who are planning to visit Iowa -- and for people who may now decide to visit as a result of reading and enjoying the photos in this hub!

      Gave you 5 more stars, voted up, and BI, and will share!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Deborah,

      You should visit them before they no longer exist. The old covered bridges are a unique part of history. Most of them wherever they exist no longer support vehicles going over them...just pedestrian traffic. Glad that you enjoyed this hub and thanks for your comment.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      I've lived in Iowa most of my life and have never seen the Bridges of Madison County. Every time I head south on I-35 and pass the sign, I think about stopping. Maybe next time I will. Thanks for a great hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi TToombso8,

      So glad that this hub about a covered bridge in a city park in Winterset, Iowa brought back happy memories for you when you were a child. Sounds like they were lovely...especially because they were shared with your grandfather.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I adore covered bridges! My grandfather in upstate NY used to take us for drives out in the country to visit covered bridges. We would get out and walk across and admire the craftsmanship and woodwork. Excellent hub, Peggy, thank you for the information and the memories of my childhood. :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi JamaGenee,

      I also added your link to my John Wayne birthplace hub. Yes...Winterset, Iowa should like our hubs about their pretty and interesting town.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Peggy, thank you so much for placing the link to the Clark Tower hub in a capsule all by itself. Wouldn't it be lovely to know if our hubs about Winterset increase tourism there? lol!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi JamaGenee,

      Look forward to reading about it since it is so near this site and others in the Winterset, Iowa area. Thanks for inserting the link.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Peggy, the Clark Tower hub is up - finally. Hope you enjoy it! https://hubpages.com/travel/Clark-Memorial-Tower-i...

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi JamaGenee,

      Yes, from what you say, you should DEFINITELY go through those photo boxes. Who knows what else you might find? Amazing that you actually have relatives buried in the Winterset, Iowa cemetery! Will look forward to reading your hub regarding that medieval tower in Winterset. Perhaps we can link these hubs together when you have finished yours.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Peggy, I dug out my Winterset photos, scanned the best pix of the medieval tower at the end of the trail in City Park, and will work up a hub on it. Was surprised to find I'd made the trek out to it FOUR times. Was even more surprised to learn one branch of my mother's side settled in Winterset, and some of them are even buried in the Winterset cemetery! Guess I need to go through those photo boxes more often!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It appears that CMerritt has written 2 western based stories. Not sure which one used Winterset, Iowa as a backdrop so I read the older one first. Some references to some places in Iowa in it. He has a talent for writing western fiction from what I just read.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      CMerrit, I'll be looking for your Winterset hub, too! ;D

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi CMerritt,

      Hope you get to see Winterset, Iowa in person someday. Will have to try and find your hub to see what you have written using Winterset as a setting. Thanks for your comment.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Very interesting. I enjoyed reading about Winterset.

      I wrote a hub, a western fiction, taking place in Winterset. I did some research on this town, before I wrote it.

      I have a desire to visit it one day.

      up and awesome,

      Chris

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi JamaGenee,

      You are correct. I was driving a big car back in those days and did not see the tower. Will look forward to reading your hub about it. Winterset, Iowa's city park is certainly beautiful. Glad we took the time to see it. Thanks for your comment.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Peggy, I'm guessing you and your mother didn't take the narrow road back to the medieval tower wayyyy out at the edge of the wooded area next to the park or you'd have a photo of it here. The "road" isn't much more than a trail for hikers and cyclists, and a sign at the beginning says only small or compact cars should attempt to drive on it. I only drive small cars, so the kids and I made the trek, and it was well worth it.

      Since we seem to be jointly promoting the Wonders of Winterset, I'll dig out my photos of the tower and do a hub. Can't recall the details off-hand, but it was built as a memorial to (or by) a man and his wife, and is on a point of land above a valley where viewing the the fall colors would be especially spectacular. ;D

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Genna,

      Glad to know that you enjoyed this Winterset, Iowa hub with the covered bridge, etc. in the city park. That movie is a favorite with many people. Thanks for your comment.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Beautiful journey through Winterset, Peg, and the photos are stunning….such gorgeous color! ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ is a favorite film of mine (being a romantic at heart, it is irresistible), and it is such a pleasure seeing this come to life in your hub. It was interesting to learn why the bridges are covered in the first place, but the reasoning certainly makes a lot of sense. I am happy to know that not all of these charming bridges have been replaced with bigger, more modern structures.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hanna,

      Very happy to have been able to show you this beautiful city park in Winterset, Iowa with photos. Thanks for your comment.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you, Peggy, for showing us such a beautiful piece of country. It was a real pleasure to read your hub and see your pictures.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Cheryl,

      Winterset, Iowa is a small and charming little town. Am sure that you would enjoy visiting there someday. Thanks for your comment.

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 5 years ago from Houston, TX

      I treasure the natural beauty and interesting information you have shared on beautiful Winterset Iowa. Another interesting and beautiful place I will put on my future vacation list. Your photos and videos are wonderful. I love the park, the cedar bridge and the fact that many famous people like John Wayne was born in this small town. Great hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Darlene,

      Glad that you enjoyed learning about this special city park in Winterset, Iowa. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Eddy,

      Thanks for commenting and leaving up votes on this Winterset, Iowa hub regarding the beautiful city park with the authentic covered bridge and pioneer log cabin. Not many city parks have both interesting features like this one does. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

    • profile image

      Darlene 5 years ago

      Beautiful photos. Very interesting

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh Peggy so beautiful as always, your hubs never disappoint and I have to award that up up and away this time again-lol-.

      I am looking forward to following you into this New Year ahead to see what gems you have instore for us.

      Take care and I hope you have a great run up to the festivities.

      Eddy.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi CASE1WORKER,

      There are not that many covered bridges left in the U.S. just as there are not that many old log cabins. Some people in certain parts of the country build newer log cabin home designs but they are not that common. Thanks for visiting this Winterset, Iowa hub and leaving a comment.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Very pretty town. I love those little covered bridges and I quite wrongly think that the US is covered in them! Too much TV watching I think.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Charles,

      What you said is so true! I would add memories to your list. Thanks for leaving a comment on this Winterset, Iowa hub. Appreciate it!

    • profile image

      Charles Criner 5 years ago

      Through pictures and words, everything is capable of living forever.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello freecampingaussie,

      Hope that you get to see the City Park in Winterset, Iowa for yourself someday and walk across that covered bridge. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello ytsenoh,

      My mother and I only saw 2 of the other covered bridges near Winterset, Iowa due to time constraints but as you stated, the movie probably interested more people in seeing and visiting this part of Iowa. Thanks for your visit and comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi AliciaC,

      Yes...covered bridges last so much longer than regular uncovered ones especially if built out of lumber as was the common material used in the early pioneer days of America. Makes sense when one thinks about it. Of course many were replaced over time with wider bridges as most of the original ones were only one lane accommodating horses and buggies and pedestrians. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Gene,

      Then you had better stay put! Haha! While Winterset, Iowa is a nice place with covered bridges in the area and log cabins...Dallas has its good points also. :)) Thanks for your comment.

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 5 years ago from Southern Spain

      Love your hub with the beautiful pictures ! Makes me want to visit here .

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Thank you for this hub. I love it. I actually have pictures of the same red covered bridge. Traveling up to Iowa was the last trip my mother, daughter and I took together. We were interested in the bridges after the Bridges movie came out. I was so surprised to see this hub. Thanks for all the information you present here.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Strangely, I've never thought about why a cover was created for a covered bridge. Your explanation makes so much sense! Thanks for the information and the photos, Peggy. This is another enjoyable hub.

    • profile image

      Gene Jasper 5 years ago

      Pretty little town. I wouldn't mind living in a small town again. Charlotte would kill me first! There will be no moving away from Dallas shopping!

      Gene