It is a genuine suprise when visitors to the Bily Clocks Museum of Spillville, Iowa see the large display of unique wooden clocks.
Beginning in 1913, the brothers employed the idle hours of long winter days and evenings with their skills of woodcarving. Being farmers and carpenters, they carved only as a hobby while still doing their regular chores and maintaining a well kept farm. In 1915 and 1916, they built the Apostle Clock from which the Twelve Apostles appear on the hour.During the period on 1923-1927, the Bily Brothers added their masterpiece to the collection, The American Pioneer History Clock. A memorial clock to Charles Lindbergh was carved in 1928 commemorating his historic flight. In these beautiful artistically carved clocks the brothers have used woods from a number of foreign countries as well as numerous pieces of walnut, butternut, maple and oaks from North America.
The Bily Brothers moved their collection to Spillville in 1946. They bequeathed the clocks to the town of Spillville with an agreement that the clocks would never be sold or moved from their present location. The second floor of the building was the home of the famous Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak, and his family during the summer of 1893.
The Antonin Dvorak Exhibit – Second Floor of the Museum
Dr. Antonin Dvorak, world-famous musician and composer, came to spend the summer of 1893 in Spillville, Iowa. Through a resident of Spillville he had learned of the village, and with his family he arrived from New York City by railroad early in June. It was said that the following morning, before many of the townspeople were astir, Dvorak arose and proceeded to the site of Riverside Park, along the Turkey River, to commune with nature and enjoy the sound of birds and feast his eyes on the beauties of the region.
While in Spillville, Dvorak composed the widely-known "American Quartette" and found the inspiration for "Humoresque", which was written after he left Spillville.
The Dvorak Exhibit, located on the second floor of the museum, has historical artifacts as well as written material on Dvorak and the time he spent in Spillville. Also on display are harmoniums (pump organs) like Dvorak played and composed music on during his visit.
Location: Spillville – located thirteen miles southwest of Decorah, Iowa
Admission: A small admission fee is charged.
Phone: (563) 562-3569
Hours: May through October: Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
April: Daily, 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.
March and November: Weekends,10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed December, January and February
Photographs are not allowed in the Museum