Hitchcock House – Lewis, Iowa
This house, in Lewis, Iowa, overlooking a bend in the East Nishnabotna River, was a station on the Underground Railroad. The house was built in 1856 by Rev. George B. Hitchcock and is made of brown sandstone quarried from a local quarry. The walls average 21 inches thick. The wood used in the construction is locally grown oak and walnut. The house has a full basement, including a massive fireplace.
The house was admitted to the National Historic Landmark in February of 2006. The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this distinction.
Visitors can also stand in the “secret room” and imagine some of the hardships Blacks endured on their way to freedom in Canada. The basement is accessible both from the kitchen and through an outside entrance.
Rev. Hitchcock left the area after the Civil War and the home was used as a farm residence until the late 1960s. Then it was abandoned until the 1980s. At that time, local groups with the help of several state preservation opportunities restored the house to its former look. Persons who come now can tour the house.
During the summer, the nearby Red Barn is busy with activities related to pioneer crafts. On the lawn near the Hitchcock House in June – August, free concerts of country music are held on several Sundays. Summer activities include the mounting of special exhibits, such as displaying collections of Tramp Art and Native American artifacts.
This house is near a number of historic trails, including the following: Pottawattamie Indian Trail, Old Dragoon Trail (emigrants to Oregon in 1843-1844), Mormon Trail of 1846, Clark’s Road (49ers), Mormon handcart Trail (1856-1857), and others. This house is a part of the Cold Springs Park facility and is supervised by the Cass County Conservation Board. They have developed a two-mile nature walk down to the nearby river.
Admission – Adults High School age and older: $5
Directions – take U. S. Highway 6 south of Atlantic, go 1mile west and ½ mile south of Lewis, Iowa 51544
Hours – 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday, May 1 – September 30
Phone – (712) 769-2323