Visiting the American Gothic House Center in Eldon, Iowa is must for all Iowans as well as visitors to our great state. Our family visited in the fall and had such a great time! Here’s what to expect at the American Gothic House and other things to do in Eldon, Iowa.
*We visited the American Gothic House Center and Eldon, Iowa on assignment for Travel Iowa. All opinions are mine.*
American Gothic House Center Eldon, Iowa
Off the beaten path in Eldon, (southeast) Iowa, population 927 in Wapello County , you’ll find the American Gothic House Center. If you’re familiar with the famous painting the American Gothic, or are a Grant Wood fan, you’ll immediately recognize the house that inspired this iconic painting. The exact house is still located on the exact spot where Grant Wood originally painted it and you are invited to visit!
In addition to the house, there’s also a free visitor’s center featuring information about Grant Wood’s life and family. We watched an educational cartoon video for the children, but they also have a version for adults. A small museum and information center and a gift shop round out the Visitor’s Center. If you plan your visit for the second Saturday of the month from April to October, you can also visit the downstairs of the house. We were not there on the second Saturday so we did not get to tour the home, unfortunately.
The highlight of our visit was donning costumes and taking pictures in front of the house. The Visitor’s Center will suit you up in costumes. They have a large selection of costumes and we found sizes to fit all six of us for the most epic family pictures ever! The helpful staff from the Center took several family pictures of all us and then we took a few more too. I really think they could charge for pictures, but they don’t. Make sure to get your own family picture if you visit!
Other things to do in Eldon, Iowa
Eat Lunch at Chommy’s
Located in a nondescript building near Eldon’s Train Depot is Chommy’s Bar & Grill. Best known for their huge pork tenderloin, this restaurant is a fun stop if you’re in Eldon. Our kids enjoyed playing pool and Dan enjoyed the one canned IPA they had left the day we were there, the All Day IPA. I laughed when they said they literally had only ONE can. As promised (and out of necessity) it did last Dan all day. LOL!
It’s pretty standard bar fare food – fried pickles, reubens, tenderloin sandwiches. We enjoyed our lunch there. Chommy’s has good online reviews and came highly recommended by the folks at the American Gothic House Center too, so many people seem to enjoy it.
Visit the Rock Island Train Depot
Featuring railraod and depot history as well as a refurbished Chicago Central Caboose, the Rock Island Train Depot is another place you might want to visit in Eldon. It’s fun to walk around the outside even if you can’t go in.
There aren’t posted hours for this museum, so if you want to visit or arrange a tour of the Rock Island Train Depot,make sure to contact Merle! He’ll hook you up. 🙂
Right next door to the Rock Island Train Depot, you’ll find a cute little wooden playground little kids might enjoy.
And there are also several fun train murals to find in Eldon, if you like street art!
While you might not think about Eldon, Iowa as a must visit destination, it is worth an afternoon! The American Gothic Center offers occasional events, including gingerbread house decorating coming up on December 2! Make sure to add Eldon to you weekend road trip list. It’s worth a stop. To learn more about weekend road trip destinations, visit Travel Iowa’s comprehensive website.
Have you been to the American Gothic House Center in Eldon? I’d love to hear!