George Wyth House and Viking Pump Museum – Cedar Falls, Iowa T
he Historical Society acquired the Wyth House in 1979 as a bequest from Dorothy G. Wyth who gave the house in memory of her parents, George and Alice Wyth. July 1, 1925 J. George and Alice W. Wyth purchased the property.
George Wyth achieved his greatest prominence as a founder and first president of Viking Pump Company. In 1944 he retired as president and general manager. Both Russell and Robert were associated with the Viking Pump Company with Robert becoming president in 1944.
The front porch was a special gathering spot for friends on Thursday evenings when the Cedar Falls Concert Band played across the street in Overman Park.
When purchased by the Wyths, the house had wood siding. Not being insulated, the house was difficult to heat. The best method of insulating then was "dead air space." This was a common form of insulating during the late 1800′s and into the mid 1900′s. To provide this, the entire exterior was covered with a brick veneer. This is the only major exterior structure change. The house interior remains basically the same as it was in 1907. From 1955 to 1997 the house stood empty except for brief periods of occupancy by Dorothy Wyth.
After the house was donated to the Society major exterior restoration projects were: a new roof, rebuilding the porch roof, rebuilding a sagging brick wall and the replacement of the garage. Major interior projects were: installing new ceilings, replacing the electrical service, insulating the walls and attic, installing a new boiler and air conditioning all three floors. To protect the property smoke, fire and security systems have been installed.
The foyer, music room and living room were opened for viewing on December 4, 1993. In the music room the restored Stroud grand piano with the Duo-Arts player attachment plays for visitors. The Gilbert Rhode desk in the music room, the City of Paris torchere lamps and the rug in the living room are outstanding examples of Art Deco design.
Elegantly furnished in the art deco style, the southeast bedroom, which was Dorothy Wyth’s when she lived at home, was completed in 1987.
Since that time, the dining room, kitchen and upstairs rooms have been furnished and are open to the public.
From the first, discussions on developing the Wyth House included a room for Viking Pump displays since both George Wyth and his son, Robert, were presidents of the company that continues to be a vital part of our community. On March 1, 1987 Robert Wyth cut the ribbon to formally open the Viking Pump Museum.
The Viking Pump Museum is open per schedule and by appointment.
Location: 303 Franklin St
Open: By appointment
Phone: 319-266-5149 for information