History in Pottawattamie County

This sample itinerary can be customized for any time of year.

Welcome to Council Bluffs, Iowa—county seat of Pottawattamie County and overflowing with fascinating history. This sample itinerary includes several museums for your groups to enjoy, whether you’re staying for the afternoon or a few days. 

DAY ONE
10:00am – 12:00pm
“Squirrel Cage” Jail Museum is a one-of-a-kind structure that provides groups the opportunity to see firsthand a piece of cultural and architectural history. Built in 1885, this is the only three-story revolving jail ever built. The cell section remains as it was in 1969 when the jail closed. Today it serves as a well-restored snapshot of an interesting era of our society.

12 – 1:00pm
Enjoy lunch at one of Council Bluffs’ group-friendly dining options.

1 – 3:00pm
RailsWest Railroad Museum is the last surviving passenger depot in the Council Bluffs area. The transcontinental railroad played a major role in the development of southwest Iowa. The museum includes a gift shop, railroad artifacts and exhibits, and the former ticket office. View dining car silverware, a telegraph office, a model railroad display, and much more.

3 – 5:00pm
Choose from three tours for your group at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. The UP Railroad Museum Highlights Tour takes your group through both floors of the museum, exploring the rich history of the Union Pacific on a one-hour tour. Experience Lincoln’s 1859 visit as you and your group retrace his footsteps through Council Bluffs’ historic downtown on the Track Down Lincoln Walking Tour. Or choose the Westward by Rail tour, where you’ll explore the technological advances made during the United States’ westward expansion.

DAY TWO
10:00am – 12:00pm
The Bregant House is a unique home that was custom built for Jean and Inez Bregant, who were just 45 and 42 inches tall. The house has furnishings and construction at heights and dimensions that were comfortable uniquely for them. The Bregants were spokespersons for the Woodward Candy Company of Council Bluffs and called “The Smallest Couple in the World.”

12 – 2:00pm
Take a lunch break at a Council Bluffs restaurant, such as Upstream Brewing Company or Quaker Steak & Lube.

2 – 4:00pm
Grenville M. Dodge was a nationally known and respected military general, railroad builder and politician, and also one of the wealthiest citizens of Iowa. He created a home in Council Bluffs that incorporated many lovely woods and rare amenities of central heating and hot and cold running water. The Historic General Dodge House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for tours Tuesday through Sunday.

For more information or to customize this sample itinerary for your group, contact the Pottawattamie County Historical Society at 712-323-2509 or visit www.thehistoricalsociety.org.

 

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