The Buildings

The Museum Buildings:

The Mill Farm House

Corydon Brown Sr. and his family built the Mill Farm house in 1878.. The architecture is Italianate and the bricks used to build the home were made from the clay found in the Des Moines River. Corydon brown and his wife did not live here long . In 1903, Corydon and his wife moved to Des Moines to be closer to their daughter, Lola. Corydon Brown Jr. and rented out the home to farm/mill tenants until his death in 1927. The last Brown family to own the home was Walter and Grace Brown starting in the early 1930s. In 1944, the house was sold to Ms. Clarence Kunert and was turned into an apartment building before it sat abandoned. In 1966, the Kunert family donated the house to the Humboldt County Historical Association to use as a museum for the county's history.  In 1968, the first two rooms were open to the public.

The Red Barn

The Red Barn was originally built in 1941 and was located on the Erickson Farm, northeast of Rutland, Iowa. It was used for housing equipment and animals on the farm. In 1971, the Erickson family donated the barn to the Humboldt County Historical Museum. It is located behind the house where the old carriage house use to stand. Inside, the barn holds a wide variety of displays that tell the story of early farming in Humboldt County.

The Chicken House

The chicken house was built in 1875 on Jacob Wolf's farm. Jacob Wolf was an immigrant farmer from Germany who settled in the county. In 1975, the chicken house was donated and moved to the museum grounds. It is located right outside the west wing to the barn and shows a different way of caring for chickens on the farm!

The Jailhouse

This jailhouse was built in 1907 and served as the Rutland jail for sometime. In 1974, Dr. Linn and his son took it upon themselves to renovate the jail. After the renovations were complete, Dr. Linn donated the jail to the museum. It is located between the schoolhouse and the chicken house. 

Norway No. 6 "Willow" Schoolhouse

The Willow Creek Schoolhouse was built in 1883 by Ole for the children in the community of Thor, Iowa. It held its first classes that fall and continued to hold classes until 1955. What is unique about the Willow Creek Schoolhouse is the plaque on the door that states "Iowa Standard School." Norway No. 6 was one of the many schoolhouses across Iowa that was apart of the state curriculum program. This state curriculum was created by the State Normal School (now University of Northern Iowa) to help professionalize the teaching field on a state level. The Willow Creek School was donated and moved to the museum grounds in 1966. Today, it stands as a memorial to the ways of teaching on the prairie as well as holds education programs for students to experience what is was like to be a student in a one-room school!

Kettle Shed

The kettle shed is one of two buildings that was built on the museum property. In 1987, the museum acquired a kettle that was donated by the Parson family. In 1988, the kettle shed was constructed to put the kettle on display. The kettle shed is an example of how early settlers to Iowa would have cooked, cleaned, and preserved their food. The kettle was also used for tasks such as laundry, boiling clams, making butter, soap, and more!

The Log Cabin

In the early 1970s, the museum acquired a log cabin that was located in Renwick, Iowa. Due to its distraught state, the museum could not move the log cabin. However, in 1975, the power line company in Dakota City donated old power line poles to help build an exact replica. The log cabin is a great example of the homes most early settlers lived in here in the county!

Dakota City Grist Mill Ruins

In 1855, Ed McKnight built a steam-powered mill along the East Fork of the Des Moines River, making it the first mill built in the county. In the mid-1860s, McKnight switched the mill from steam power to water power, building a mill race and a dam to help power the mill. In the late 1870s, Corydon Brown Sr. bought the mill and later changed it to a Roller Grist Mill around 1890. The grist mill operated until 1943, making it the oldest operating Grist Mill in Iowa. However, on a hot summer day, the Mill burned down and was never rebuilt. Today, visitors to the museum can look out over the ruins of the dam and imagine what it would have been like to see the mill in action!

The Hardy Methodist Church

In 1882, the Methodist congregation of Hardy built this beautiful white church in Hardy, Iowa. It served the Methodist congregation for quiet a few years until its last service in 1996. The church was donated to the museum and moved to the grounds in 1997. The Hardy Church is a popular site for church events, community events, and weddings!

 The Clancy/Erickson Buildings

The Clancy building was built in 2005 and houses a wide variety of displays that tell the history of the businesses located in the county.  These displays cover photography to everyday life. The Clancy is also home to the museum's vast collection of military items as well as the archives and accessioning room. 

Through a generous donation from Cliff Erickson, the Erickson building was built in 2010 to operate as a machine shed for Mr. Erickson and museum storage. Sadly, Mr. Erickson passed away in 2011 and the building was named in memorial to him. Today, the museum has on display his antique tractor and tool collection in the portion of the building he would have used.