Jackson County Historical Museum, Maquoketa

#113 of 131 in Museums in Iowa
The Jackson County Historical Society was founded April 25, 1903 when prominent citizens in the county met in Maquoketa. The nine men were:

George L. Mitchell, businessman

Harvey Reid, businessman, county treasurer, and local historian

J.W. Ehlers

W.C. Gregory, realtor

James Fairbrother

H.S. Littell

Dr. A. B. Bowen

D.A. Fletcher

Will Cundill, legendary photographer

They were soon joined by W.C. Swigart and James W. Ellis. Swigart was a newspaper publisher at the time, while Ellis was an insurance broker and avid local historian who wrote the Annals of Jackson County, a two volume 1910 History of Jackson County.

"Re-invented" in 1964, the Historical Society was spearheaded by people such as Paul Jr. Papke, Lucille Sorensen, Grace Holihan, Clarence Kindred, Howard Tabor, Charles Butterworth, Judy Carlson, H.D. Keeley, Leroy Hepker, Mary Hoerner, J.W. Brady Jr, Peter Schroeder, Charles Bevan, Mary Elda Schreiber, George Kingsley, and Robert Manley.

The Society Struggled until Jackson County millionaire businessman Allison Pearson passed away in 1966 leaving almost a million dollars to improve the quality of life for those in Jackson County. Due to Allie Pearson's intense interest in history, the executors of his estate felt that the Jackson County Historical Society was the perfect fit. Judge Arthur Janssen was chosen th spearhead the erection of the Pearson Memorial Center on the Fairgrounds to house the Historical Society and the Fair Association. Having at last found a home, the Jackson County History Museum has become one the country's finest.

The Society added a Machine Shed on the Fair Grounds, to house its outstanding collection of horse powered farm machinery, 1914 Case Steam Engine and an authentic log cabin among thousands of other items.

The Hurtsville Lime Kilns are part of the JCHS complex. Sitting along old Highway 61, just north of Maquoketa. They remain the only restored set of four kilns the entire country.

In 2008, the JCHS rehabbed the old administration building on the site of the Clinton Engines factory. It is now an interactive museum telling the story of the Clinton Engines Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of small gasoline engines. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and part of Jackson County's designation as an Iowa Great Place.

Also within the Clinton Building is the Jackson County Research and Genealogical library - and extensive collection of local and family history through the years.

The Jackson County History Museum and the Hurtsville Lime Kilns are part of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. The Historical Society is also a member of Time Travelers, giving it memebers discounts at fine museums around the country. Using our world travel planner, Maquoketa attractions like Jackson County Historical Museum can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Jackson County Historical Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7 reviews
  • This museum is located in the Jackson County Fair building. It is very well organized and extremely interesting. There are 2 floors to this museum. There is always someone there is you have any...  more »
  • I spent a couple hours and was really impressed at the variety of exhibits - this looks like an actual museum, but sort of home-grown. No fancy expensive exhibits, but things are arranged in a way...  more »
  • The museum, located at the fairgrounds, next to the racetrack, is an amazing local museum of history. They have a great variety of artifacts, and the displays are well-done and appealing. The first building has a HUGE variety of artifacts, including some agricultural items, from the largest scale I've ever seen to a two-headed calf (I've seen a million) and a two-butted sheep (now there's something you don't see every day). The 2nd floor is reportedly equally interesting; I was unable to tour that due to time constraints. A second building is focused on agricultural innovations and ag history in the local area - also VERY well-done. Early planters, primitive hand-tools and horse-drawn planting and harvesting equipment and the most impressive display for barbed wire I've ever seen. Apparently the other building - several miles from the fairgrounds; the historic home of the Clinton engine company - is also well-worth seeing. I plan to return soon. If you are any kind of history buff you should make a point to visit; if you are interested in agricultural history, this is a good one.
  • It was so awsome. That i am going there again tomorrow

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Duration:1​h 30​min

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