Boone History Center

Take a look into the exciting past of Boone County, Iowa. From a local heroine to a beloved First Lady, from coal miners, settlers, and farmers, to business people and military heroes, there is something here for everyone.

Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace

Mamie Geneva (Doud) Eisenhower, beloved First Lady of America for eight years, was born in Boone, Iowa on November 14, 1896. 

Hickory Grove School

Come see what it was like to attend a country school! Visiting Hickory Grove School is an interesting step back in time to when one-room school houses were the norm in Iowa. Tours by appointment only. 

Kate Shelley Park and Museum

Kate Shelley was a local girl who, at age 15, risked her life crawling over a railroad bridge that spanned a raging river in the dark, in the middle of a dangerous storm, to save others. 

Come learn more about her, her heroic deed, and where she lived. 

Trail Tales

Trail Tales is our journal about Boone County history that is issued twice a year to Society members. Join us and see what you are missing!

Our Museums

Boone County Historical Society has four different museums located in Boone County, Iowa, three of which we own and one that we help promote. We are proud to offer these exciting places to visit and explore for visitors of all ages and interests! Navigate through our site to learn more about all we have to offer, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@bchsiowa.org.

Boone History Center
Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace
Hickory Grove School
Kate Shelley Park & Museum

“I am proud to have been born in Iowa. Through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy, it was a place of adventure and daily discoveries—the wonder of the growing crops, the excitements of the harvest, the journeys to the woods for nuts and hunting, the joys of snowy winters, the comfort of the family fireside, of good food and
tender care.”

– Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States

Recent Facebook Posts

Throwback Thursday:
Class of Firemen in Boone who had Gene Hostler (front row, second from the right) as instructor. Taken in Chicago.

Unfortunately, the year is not written down.

Names listed:
Top row: C. Lewis, Bill Miller Lawson, Chas Miller Elliott, E.R. Byers.
Bottom Row: Chas Brierty, J.E. Mikesell, J Lluddeleson, glen Bundy, Gene Hostler, Warren Handschion.

(any errors made due to being unable to read it clearly will be fixed with a heads up.)
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Where in Boone County is this? And what was it?

Answer to come in the comments by 5pm!
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Trivia Tuesday Answer:
In 1839, before even becoming a state of our own, Iowa nearly went to war with Missouri over boundary lines. It was a bloodless conflict that happened due to unclear wording in Missouri's constitution, confusion over the survey of the Louisiana Purchase and misunderstanding of Native American treaties.

As Missouri applied for statehood, their boundaries were to be resurveyed, including the border with the Iowa area of the Wisconsin territory, of which it was part at that point in time. When Wisconsin declined to participate in the survey, the man doing the survey, J. C. Brown, opted to ignore the traditional definition of rapids below Fort Madison on the Mississippi River. Instead, he looked for rapids on the Des Moines River, moving the boundaries to Keosauqua - about 9.5 miles from the original boundary.

With that door of interpretation open, discussion came up of rapids appearing in the Des Moines River all the way up to the city of Des Moines. At the same time, Iowa maintained their state line ownership, extending it 15 miles into Missouri at the mouth of the Des Moines River.

In addition to the survey and government level confusion and conflict, tax agents from Missouri swarmed in on Iowa residents within that 9.5 mile area of dispute and were met with pitchforks instead of cooperative Iowans. Legend has it, to get their payments, those same tax collectors chopped down three honey trees within what is the now Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, to take the honey as payment. As you can imagine, it didn't go well for the tax collectors. The Missouri governor, Lilburn Boggs, sent members of the Missouri State Militia to protect the tax collectors. Thankfully, General Willock, who lead the division of the militia, was unwilling to see blood shed by a conflict he felt should be decided by the government.

An Iowa mob ended up capturing the sheriff of Clark County, Missouri and put him into a Muscatine jail. The Iowa militia was also called out in response.

The two governors decided to allow Congress to resolve the issue and a temporary line was drawn. When Iowa entered the Union as a state, the boundary line was reset in Iowa's favor, to the original Sullivan line from 1816, and was upheld in a Supreme Court case - State of Missouri vs State of Iowa in 1849.

Due to the cutting down of the honey trees, this conflict became known unofficially as The Honey War and is, in fact,
commemorated with a monument at the Missouri border.
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