Elm Grove School House

Elm Grove School, Center District # 4, is one of 400 one-room country schools left in Iowa and is currently located on the grounds of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.  The first schoolhouse was a log building. When the people got together to build the log house there were so many elm trees where the building was built that they called it Elm Grove. The school was surrounded by bushes and brush and Crude benches and a fireplace were all the equipment they had. From 40-60 students attended this school. The present school building was built in 1866.

 

Elm Grove is currently open for touring during the Greater Jefferson County Fair each year.  Open to the public to view the exterior at all times. Interior available to view during the Jefferson County Fair.

2606 W Burlington Ave
Fairfield, Iowa 52556 

Bonnifield Cabin

The Bonnifield Log House is thought to be the oldest existing two-story log house in Iowa. The cabin was built in 1838 by Rhodham Bonnifield and his sons and served as the unofficial Methodist church. It was also a stopover place for many official guests, such as territorial politicians, governors, delegates to Congress, and judges who found hospitality in the Bonnifield home as they were traveling through the Iowa territory. Indeed it was Mrs. Bonnefield who is credited with naming Fairfield, suggest that it was a fitting name for the beautiful prairies that made up the area.

In 1908, the cabin was moved and refurbished by the Old Settlers Association, without who’s help the cabin surely would have not survived. The cabin’s current location in Waterworks park on the north side of Fairfield. Visitors are able to get a glimpse into the past as the exterior is open to the public for viewing at all times. The interior, however, is not open but we have included a few photos below to give you an idea of its layout and furnishings.

Waterworks Park
N. B Street
Fairfield, Iowa 52556 

Heritage Trails

Heritage Trails
The Heritage Trail is a tour of historic buildings in Fairfield, and is also a virtual tour complete with much information about the history of Fairfield.
Fairfield has a rich foundation in cultural history, and has many historic and architecturally interesting buildings. For instance, the first and second Iowa State Fairs were held in Fairfield in 1854 and 1855. Come visit Fairfield and experience the historic Heritage Trail which includes:

    An architecturally distinctive Barry Byrne-designed prairie style home (one of the best in the Midwest).
    The first of a total of 1,689 Carnegie Public Libraries.
    A dwelling built in 1838 (the birthplace of Fairfield).
    And even an early Dairy Queen store.

Main Location


Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website

Carnegie Library Museum

Carnegie Library Museum

This Iowa Century Museum dates back to 1877 and is housed in Fairfield’s former library building, the first of 1,689 endowed by Andrew Carnegie. The Library and its third-floor Museum Opened in 1893 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Click here to take a 3-D tour of the many exhibits!

Exhibits include;

Civil War
Militaria
Ethnic curios
Native American
Roman
Birds
Natural History
Pioneer Artifacts

Native American pottery, the seated monkey & other examples of 19th century taxidermy remain on display.  Most of the taxidermy was donated by the Smithsonian at the request of Senator James F. Wilson, a Fairfield native.

112 South Court, Fairfield, Ia.

Hours of Operation:

Tuesday – Friday  12:00pm – 4:00pm

Saturday 11:00am – 3:00pm

Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk night 6pm – 9pm

Main Location

112 South Court
Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website

Maasdam Barns

Maasdam Barns

This historic site tells the story of early agriculture from the 1900s. Many of the exhibits chronicle Jefferson County’s industrial enterprises in the 19th and 20th century, including the Maasdam draft horse breeding business, Louden manufacturing, and their agricultural inventions, and Turney Wagon Works, manufacturers of rugged farm wagons and advertised as “Built for Wear and Savers of Horse Flesh”

In 1906, Jacob Maasdam made a two-day journey bringing 47 Percheron horses and one Shetland pony from Pella to Fairfield, turning Jefferson County into one of the great original horse markets of the country, including many world champions, the most notable being Louis d’Or, reportedly the world’s largest Belgian horse.

The historic Maasdam Barns at the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm are a significant illustration of an early 20th-century draft-horse breeding business. From 1910 until 1938 award-winning Percheron draft horses were raised and sold by J. G. Maasdam. The two 1910 barns were designed by the Louden barn design division. They used modern barn construction methods, such as poured concrete walls, and featured Louden barn products.

The Maasdam Barns are open from mid-April  to mid-November
Hours are 1-4pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10am-4pm on Saturdays.
In addition, tours are available by appointment.

Located on Hwy 1 south, just past the hospital.
Read more about this historical location

 

Main Location

2000 S. Main St
Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website