Kate Shelley Park & Museum

by Aug 10, 2016

We love tour groups!

The Boone County Historical Society enjoys hosting group tours of all sorts. From scout troops to tour buses and antique car clubs, we can accommodate a variety of groups.


Currently, all of our museums are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When we reopen, tours should be arranged well in advance. Contact us at info@bchsiowa.org or call 515-432-1907 and leave a message. Since the Center is not staffed regularly, emailed questions get answered more quickly.


1198 232nd Street, Boone, IA 50036

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 admin@bchsiowa.org.  

July 6, 1881, is a date forever embedded in Boone County’s history.  As midnight drew near and a wild storm raged, a girl of 15 crawled across the widely-separated ties of the railroad bridge that spanned the Des Moines River. She needed to notify railroad officials that an engine had crashed into Honey Creek when the trestle 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 Mongoina’s Chicago and Northwestern Depot and told 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. She had stopped a train and somehow found the strength to lead a rescue party back to the two survivors of the wreck in Honey Creek. The State of Iowa presented her with a gold medal made by Tiffany & Co. 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 and outside the town of Moingona, the Kate Shelley Memorial Park and Railroad Museum marks the site where Kate Shelley arrived on that fateful evening. 

Due to needed repairs and the pandemic the museum is currently closed but the grounds are open year around to the public.

Kate Shelly Park and Museum Gallery

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