Historic Sites in Iowa: The Old Stone House near Hampton in Franklin County

Last Updated on July 1, 2014 by

The history of a place draws us, as travelers.  What was and what will be are so often interlocked.  And when a local group comes together to restore a precious piece of a community’s past, to bring visitors the stories that built a community, well, that’s something special.

A couple weeks ago my family was privileged to spend a weekend in Franklin County, Iowa.  We found a true community- one that came together to celebrate, to grow and to remember.  We shopped at fabulous- and affordable- boutiques, toured local historic sites and enjoyed their Harvest Festival.  One of the sites that most touched me was the Old Stone House which the community has come together to restore.

The First Permanent Structure in Franklin County

Leander Reeve House, Hampton, Iowa
The Old Stone House

The Old Stone House was built in 1854 of native limestone.  As all surrounding structures were log cabins this two story, seven room house with a full basement  must have seemed quite opulent.  Even today it commands attention, its’ thick stone walls standing tall and brightly colored door only beginning its’ tale.

Two Seat Outhouse
Two Seat Outhouse

Families who lived in the house have shared their memories.  The overlying theme?  “It was a cold house”.  But in all its’ years as a home the floor plan was never altered, electricity was not installed and the two-seat outhouse remained as the home’s toilet. 

Now the Old Stone House belongs to the Franklin County Historical Society.  A group of dedicated volunteers host socials, recreations of Pony Express mail delivery and events to raise money for continued restoration.  Thanks to their hard and tireless work the Old Stone House was entered into the National Register of Historic Places (as the Leander Reeve House) in 1979.

Making History at the Old Stone House

This weekend (October 22 & 23, 2011) is the Making History event at the Old Stone House. It will be a fun and affordable weekend- only $5 per carload of people!  Events like this are called “sneaky education” in my house- the two “seat” outhouse was a great lesson for my girls!

Saturday October 22 beginning at 8am
Horse Drawn Plowing all day by Mike Mayland

Vendors all day include: Vern and Judy Harper from TownsEnd Winery, Crystal Hird fortune teller, Jamie Brass (look for the teepee), Calvin Liebold and Gary Knipfel blacksmithing, Jewelry making by Nancy Allbee, Cornerstone Cottage with pot holders, lace and more, Shelly Buckholder quilting, Hand Made paper goods by Cheryl Nachazel, engraver William Gull, baked goods form Betty Crieger, Barn quilts from Sharon Whipple, Yard decorations from Hope Polk, and glass work by Mary Tiso.

9 am Tour of Stone House, Maysville School and REA Plant and Museum – meet at Stone House

11 am Blacksmithing Demo by Gary Knipfel and Vince Tiso

Noon Tour of Stone House, Maysville School and REA Plant and Museum – meet at Stone House

2 pm Don Wrolson performs old fashioned blue grass music

3 pm Tour of Stone House, Maysville School and REA Plant and Museum – meet at Stone House

5 pm Kids Leather Making Demonstration – hands on kids projects until the leather runs out!

7 pm Bonfire and s’mores (if fire ban, plan B will go into effect)

7:30 pm Story Telling by Dennis Carlson and Darwin Meyer

Sunday October 23
Worship Service at 9:30 am
Pastor Harry Imlay and this is free to the public
Lunch for sale at 10:30

10:30 to 12:30 pie contest entries dropped off
12:00 Two Juhls and A Gem perform
1 pm Pie winners announced and pie slices and coffee go on sale
1 pm Blacksmithing Demonstration by Gary Knipfel and Vince Tiso

2 pm Pot Holders Demonstration and hands on activity by Keri Holmes

3 pm Kids Games gunny sack races, water carrying, don’t drop that egg and more!

Where to Stay in Hampton

Dining at Country heritage Bed & Breakfast, Hampton, Iowa
Country Breakfast

Hampton has only two hotels- the AmericInn which features a full breakfast and internet and the Hampton Motel which has recently updated their rooms.  But for a true taste of Hampton hospitality stay at the Country Heritage Bed & Breakfast, just outside town.  The rooms are comfortable and the breakfast- YUM! Families can spread out in the well appointed family suite on the main level and the guest lounge has couches, a tv and even video games!  If the kids need to burn off excess energy the spacious yard is perfect for running around.

Couples will find the upstairs suites charming and romantic.  Fireplaces, private baths with whirlpools and private balconies make this hidden gem a wonderful weekend getaway.


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