Economic Development Tourism Historic Preservation
Calhoun County, Iowa

As the weather warms up, this is prime time to explore more of Calhoun County. If you’d like to enjoy some hidden gems without breaking the bank, here are some fun experiences you can enjoy around Calhoun County, all at low or no cost.

Visit the historic Rainbow Bridges. Walk across the triple-span Rainbow Bridge (built in 1914) southwest of Lake City, or enjoy a picnic by the single-span Rainbow Bridge (built in 1915) on the east edge of Rockwell City, along historic Highway 20 (now county road D36). (Bring your fishing gear if you’re an angler.) James Marsh, who graduated from Iowa State College with a degree in mechanical engineering, developed the concept for rainbow-arch bridges, which were once common around the Midwest.

Play at the park. Enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and wide-open spaces with a picnic in one of Calhoun County’s many parks. There are a wide variety of parks in the towns throughout Calhoun County, along with playground equipment (don’t miss the impressive Kids Kingdom playground in Rockwell City) and picnic shelters. If you want to get away from it all, head out to the University 40 park south of Lohrville. The playground at the Central School museum just south of downtown Lake City includes vintage playground equipment and a modern basketball court.

Explore the local museums. Calhoun County volunteers work hard preserves the area’s rich history, from agriculture to the railroads. Check out the Calhoun County Museum (located in the former high school in Rockwell City along historic Highway 20), the depot museum in Rockwell City, Lake City’s Central School Preservation museum (which is housed in an elegant, two-story school built in 1884), and the museum in Pomeroy.

Like stained glass? Step inside the Calhoun County courthouse and explore the surrounding town square in the heart of downtown Rockwell City. View the spectacular stained-glass dome and exceptional architecture of the historic courthouse, which was built in 1914 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When you’re back outside, head over to the northwest side of the courthouse square to view the artwork painted on Calhoun County’s Freedom Rock, which honors local men and women who have served in America’s armed forces.

View the beautiful barn quilts around Calhoun County. Take a drive and see how many barn quilts you can spot in the countryside (on barns and machine sheds) and around the towns throughout the county. (Hint—Farnhamville has plenty of them on the exterior of the library and some houses in town.)

Enjoy the trails at Twin Lakes and Lohrville. Whether you want to walk, jog, bicycle, walk the dog or push a stroller, you’re sure to love the peaceful, rustic settings of these top-notch trails.   

Catch at movie at the historic Capri Theatre in downtown Lake City when a local sponsor buys the tickets. (It happens more than you think! Just watch the Capri’s Facebook page.) Even when there’s no sponsor, all seats are just $2. Before or after the movie, head over to Lake City’s historic town square to enjoy the sound of the water splashing in the town’s stunning fountain during the warmer months.

Cruise over to Yetter to check out the original jail, built nearly 100 years ago. This little metal structure is right by the town park.

Hunt dinosaurs. Your kids or grandkids will love visiting the big, green dinosaur at Sparky’s convenience store near Twin Lakes, at the junction of Highway 4 and Highway 20. Be sure to take selfies! You can also get snacks at the convenience store and browse the clothing, gifts and more at the Store on 4 by Katy Lynn Boutique near Sparky’s.

Play pickleball! You’ll love the new courts at the park in Manson. Lake City will also be adding new pickleball courts soon.

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