Wapello County Historical Museum – Ottumwa, Iowa

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Wapello County Historical Museum – Ottumwa, Iowa

Located in the Amtrak Station on Main St. the museum has displays of vintage tools, furniture and local memorabilia.

The Society has been recording and preserving the history of Wapello County since 1922.

LOCATION — 210 West Main Street, Ottumwa

Hours: 10 – 4 Tuesday – Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday

Fee: $2.00 for adults $ .50 for children under 12.

Phone: (641)682-8676 


  1. Michael Rapp says:

    I found a medallion from the “Street Fair”, 1899, carnival, Ottumwa, Iowa. I would like to find out something about this event. Can you help or put me in touch with someone who can. I have tried to get the email of the museum, but haven’t been successful. Thanks.
    Michael Rapp

  2. Michael,
    I have forwarded your inquiry on to the Ottumwa CVB and asked them to contact the museum and then you regarding you inquiry. They should be contacting you soon.
    Pat Watson

  3. Mrs. Bonnie E. McClung says:

    My mother, Ruth Eleanor Gillen, was born in Ottumwa in 1907. She had a sister, Mabel, and a brother, Elmer. Elmer was about 19 when he died in France during World War I and we have many letters he wrote home to his family and also some pertaining to his death. He served as a medic during the War and my grandmother went to Paris as a “Gold Star” mother years later. Would the Museum in Ottumwa like the letters that we have from Elmer? We would love forward to your response.
    Bonnie McClung

  4. I have forwarded your email to the CVB too, hopefully you will hear something from the director of the museum regarding you generous offer.

    Pat Watson

  5. Lozetta Sandin says:

    We have two original paintings done by Newton Roberts. Would you be interested in them. They were painted about 1967.

    Lozetta Sandin

  6. I have sent your offer on to the Museum and requested they contact you personally. How nice of you to offer your paintings by Newton Roberts to the Museum.

    Pat Watson

  7. Larry Roeder says:

    Dear Sirs,

    I’m the great, great, grand nephew of Paris Caldwell who arrived in Ottumwa May 1, 1843 and died 1899, and for whom Caldwell Park was named. Paris street was named after him, and Caldwell street after his family. Arrison Street was named after Newton L. Arrison, a son in law of Paris.

    Though I am aware that Newton had something to do with the City park system, I’ve never been clear as to what,nor when the park was formed and when the streets got their names. Do you know if he also named Benton and Clay streets? Benton was a family name and Clay is the first name of a famous Iowan and relative, who rose to fame in the Civil War anemd Henry Clay Caldwell. Do you have early photographs of Caldwell Park and the environs?

    You may be interested to know that Paris was born Parris, not Paris, though both spellings were used over time. I would be pleased to know if you ever have a history or pioneer day in Ottumwa and if Paris, who helped create the city and once owned most of west Ottumwa, is ever mentioned.

    Larry Winter Roeder, Jr.

  8. Judy Wilcox says:

    In the 1880 census I found a listing for Ottumwa, Center, in Wapello, Iowa. Should this be Ottumwa Center (no comma), and can you tell me something about it? It appears from the census that this may have been an institution of some kind. I have a relative who is listed as a resident there in 1880, and I am curious about the purpose of the center. Thank you for any help you can give.

  9. clarence brady says:

    My mother and father mary and fly brady lived all their lives in ottumwa. I found this week, in their possesions a book of pictures of the 1947 flood.
    I was 8 years old at the time, but the water did not effect us. we lived at 419 ash street. I am now in my seventies and I am sure the book will be thrown away when I am gone. The pictures were put in a book and sold by Ottumwa Stamp Works. Perhaps you already have this book, the cover says DISASTER. If anyone wants this book my email is cb2052@earthlink.net

    Clarence jip brady

  10. Deborah Rubenstein says:

    My husband and I bought a Wapello County Historical Society Collector Plate of Chief Wapello by C. B King 7 3/4 inches in diameter, handcrafted in Italy- plate #3.
    Would you have information about when the plates were made, how many were in the series and any other information.
    We will enjoy the plate even more when we know the history.
    Thank you so much,
    Deborah Rubenstein

    We live in Oklahoma City, OK

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