Washington, Iowa
   One of the Best 100 Small Towns in America

board members



Agricultural Experiences . Attractions

Barn Quilts of Washington County . Camping . Dining    Events/Festivals . Golf . Lodging . Pampering 

Performing Arts . Recreation . Shopping 


Allow a minimum of 35 minutes

This publication is distributed courtesy of the

Washington Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee




Begin the tour on West Main Street at the

North side of the Downtown Square.





Washington's Centennial Fountain was constructed and dedicated in 1939 for Washington's Centennial Celebration.  It is the only one of its type in the continental US and is unique due to the multicolored light show and various water patterns.  It was refurbished in 1995.  If you can, view it at night. 


The open air bandstand and the park are home to many events throughout the year.  Every Thursday evening during the summer there is a Farmer's Market beginning at 5:00 p.m. with live entertainment from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the Municipal Band Concert at 8:00 p.m.  The Washington Municipal Band is one of the oldest in Iowa with over 70 consecutive seasons to its credit.






Go two blocks West on Main Street






The Washington County Courthouse was built in 1887 and was restored in 1999.  It is Victorian Romanesque architecture.  The clock tower is still working.  It is used as the official Washington time when starting parades and other downtown events.





Diagonally across from the courthouse stands the Scofield House.  This house was built in 1876 and restored in 2000.  It is reported that when it was first opened, a party was held and over 500 people attended a ball was held on the third floor.





Turn left of South Avenue B and go one block and

turn right on Washington Street.






Many of the houses on this street were built in the late 1800's.  There is a variety of architectural styles.  The Greek Revival House with the huge pillars on the front (422 W. Washington) was moved to its current location from downtown in 1910. 


The brick house across the street to the West was Washington's original hospital.  The brick street, which adds to the overall atmosphere of the time period, is maintained by one of the residents living on the Boulevard.



Proceed down the Boulevard into Sunset Park






Sunset Park is a popular spot for picnics and family reunions.  As you enter the park proceed to the left and you will see A New Dawn at Sunset.  This wooden play area was built with all donated money and labor.  It was truly a community project.



Proceed to the extreme South end of the park and you will see the Flower Gardens.  The gardens are a popular spot for weddings, photo sessions, and just relaxing.



The Alexander Young Log Cabin sits near the gardens.  It was built in 180 and was moved to this location in 1912.  It was home to Alexander, his wife, Mary, and their 8 children.  It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.  The cabin is open by appointment.  Call 319-653-3936.



Proceed out of the garden area until you can head West.  At the Northwest area of the park you will see a Disc Golf Course.  South of the Disc Golf Course and just North of Highway 92 is the Aquatic Center.  This $1.9 million project was built in 2000.  It is a

"state of the art" pool with heated water allowing it to stay

open into the month of September.



Proceed South to Highway 92 and turn left.  Go one block to South Avenue G.  Turn right and go to West Monroe.  Turn left and go 3 blocks.





The brick house at the corner of South Avenue D and West Monroe was important during the Civil War as a haven for escaped slaves coming North to freedom

via the Underground Railroad.



Proceed on West Monroe to South Avenue B. 

Turn right on South Avenue B and go South to

Sitler Drive.  Turn right on Sitler Drive and go into

 Elm Grove Cemetery.






The statue of Timothy Brown is located in the circle just inside Elm Grove Cemetery.  Timothy Brown was the only Washington citizen to fight in the American Revolution.  A self-guided cemetery tour brochure is available at the chamber.



Proceed back East on Sitler Drive





At 219 Sitler Drive on the right is the F-Troop Museum.  This building was the administrative office for Troop F of the 113th Cavalry.  A barn stood East of the building and was torn down in the mid 1980's.  The building houses military memorabilia from World War I thru Iraq.  For tour information call 319-653-6027.




Proceed East on Sitler Drive to

South Iowa Avenue and turn left.





Halcyon House is a retirement complex that offers independent living apartments to total nursing care.  It is one of several Wesley Home complexes that are located around the state of Iowa. 







Look North from Halcyon House to the building that has been remodeled into an apartment house of green tile.  This was originally the Brinton House built by Frank Brinton and his wife Indiana.  Frank was an inventor who had early prototypes of motion pictures and air ships.  His wife, Indiana, was considered to be somewhat eccentric.  Although fame managed to elude them they left behind a trust that is still funding many worthy projects today.




Turn right on McCreedy Drive.






In 1912 the first tax supported rural hospital in the nation opened in Washington.  The first County Nurse program was started in Washington County.  It houses many specialty clinics

associated with Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. 

The new hospital addition was opened in December 2007. 




Turn right at South 4th Street.  Turn left and follow East Polk into South 9th.  Proceed North on South 9th to Highway 92 (East Washington Street.)






At the corner of South 9th and East Washington Street is the Conger House.  This house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and houses the collections of the Washington Historical Society.  The original three room house was built in 1847 by Thomas Tichey, Washington's first settler.  In 1855 Jonathon Conger bought the house and began adding to it.  When it was completed in 1868, the house was transformed into a home of generous proportions.  Conger died in 1904 and the house was passed to Conger's daughter, Clara, and her husband Col. C.J. Wilson  Wilson, an attorney, served on the governor's staff for more than 30 years.  After his death in 1936 the house was used as a restaurant and later, a nursing home.  In 1973 the house was restored by the Conger House Society.  Conger House tours can be arranged by calling

319-653-5283 or 319-653-3125.





Follow Highway 92 East.






The United Presbyterian Home is a retirement complex that includes cottages, apartments and nursing care.  The original building was the home of Senator Smith Wildman Brookhart,

Washington's only United States Senator.





Turn around and follow Highway 92 West.







At the corner of South 2nd Avenue and Highway 92 is Blair House.  The house is a "little sister" to Terrace Hill (IA Governor's Mansion).

Built in 1880 by Winfield Smouse, who made his fortune buying and selling land, the house was sold to Edwin Blair, a grain dealer, who lived in the house until his death.  In 1902 the Washington Commercial Club bought the house and in 1925 it became the city hall.  In 1974 it was acquired by a group of citizens and restored.  It is presently used as office space and public meeting space.






Across from the Blair House to the West is the State Theater, which was originally known as the Graham Opera House and was the center of Washington's entertainment for many years.  Although it has been modernized somewhat, much of the original interior decor can be seen.  The backstage area and the orchestra pit look very much as they did in the theater's prime.  It is used primarily for movies, but an occasional live performance will be scheduled.




Continue West on Highway 92.






At the corner of South Iowa Avenue and Highway 92 is a restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food.  Originally the Smouse House, was built by Winfield Smouse (who also built the Blair House)

 from 1913 to 1916.



Continue West on Highway 92 to the intersection

with Highway 1.  Just past that intersection turn left

on Old 92 (250th Street.)






At the North Entrance to the Washington County Fairground you will see McCleery Auditorium.  It was built in the mid 1970's with Richard McCleery (local entrepreneur) donating half the money and the other half being raised in the community.  It is home to the

Washington Community Theater and is the site for most of the Washington's concerts and theatrical events. 






Go North on Highway 1 and 92 to West Main Street, turn right and proceed East across the railroad tracks to the corner of North Avenue H and West Main.






This park is the beginning of the Washington end of the Kewash Nature Trail, which follows a rout of about 14 miles West through timber and prairie remnants across Crooked Creek to the city of Keota.  If you choose to hike or bike on the trail, you will pass Hayes Timber, a wonderful place to hike and observe nature.  The

Kewash Trail and Hayes Timber are maintained by the

Washington County Conservation Board. 










Washington has 3 times been recognized as

"One of the Best Small Towns in America" as

noted in Norman Crampton's books.


Prairie grass and almost no trees once covered Washington. 

Today the county is a national leader in corn, soybean, pork

and beef production.  For nearly 50 years the county led the

world in turkey production.


For 100 years Washington was home to one of the world's major calendar factories.  The McCleery-Cummings Company was founded by Hugh McCleery in 1904 and printed the George Washington Line of Calendars until closing in 2004.  One of its major accounts was the Playboy Corporation.  For many years all the Playboy calendars were printed here in Washington.


Millions of pearl buttons were once produced in Washington.  Now Washington's manufacturing base includes: 2 biodiesel plants, building trusses made at Engineered Building Design,

radiators made at Modine and wire products made at Whitesell. 

The Syngetna (NK) seed plant is one of the world's

largest seed processing facilities. 


Norton Parker Chipman, a local Civil War soldier, started the process that led to the creation of Memorial Day.


John Jackson won two medals in the 1912 Olympics for marksmanship.


Ola Babcock Miller served as the first woman elected to a statewide office in Iowa.  She served as the Secretary of State until her death in 1937 and began the Iowa Highway Patrol.  A building in the State Capital Complex in Des Moines is named in her honor. 


Don Radda, a Washington farmer, grew a stalk of corn in 1946 to the height of 31 feet 7/8 inches, which is a world record. 


Washington is known as the "City of flowers and trees". 

Please take note of the many beautiful gardens and the

abundance of shady streets.


Group tours can be arranged by calling

The Washington Chamber of Commerce at 319-653-3272.




Copyright � 2001 Washington Area Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved

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