Kate Shelley Park & Museum


1198 232nd Street, Boone, IA 50036
(Inside the town of Moingona)

The museum is currently closed due to the pandemic and needed repairs to the building. The grounds are open year around. If you would like to donate to help repair the Kate Shelley Museum, please email info@bchsiowa.org.  

July 6, 1881, is a date forever embedded in Boone County’s history. As midnight drew near and a terrible storm raged, and with no thought about her own safety, a girl of 17 crawled across the widely-separated ties of the Moingona Railroad Bridge spanning the Des Moines River. She needed to notify railroad officials and an oncoming passenger train that a previous engine had crashed into Honey Creek when that bridge gave way in flood waters. The lives of four men hung in the balance.

After inching her way across the dangerous bridge while thunder, lightning, and trees crashed around her, Kate Shelley staggered into Moingona’s Railroad Depot and told authorities about the crashed engine and warned of the peril faced by the passenger train due later that night.

Kate Shelley’s bravery made her an instant heroine. After her harrowing journey, she somehow found the strength to lead a rescue party back to the train wreck survivors in Honey Creek. The State of Iowa presented her with a gold medal made by Tiffany & Company in New York City, and the school girls of Dubuque presented her with another. Both medals, along with the lantern she carried on that fateful night, can be seen at the Boone History Center in Boone.

Located in a wooded valley five miles southwest of Boone, just outside the town of Moingona, the Kate Shelley Park and Museum marks the site where Kate Shelley arrived on that fateful evening.

Kate Shelley Park and Museum Gallery

Click on the images for a closer look and more information.