Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the web this week: American Gothic House Becomes a Home

American Gothic House Becomes a Home

The last few days at the American Gothic House Center have been full ones. We had a fantastic holiday weekend, hosting over 300 visitors! The weather has been superb as we shift into autumn; bringing more travelers and allowing me to enjoy working in the flower beds. Yesterday brought us Beth Howard, an Ottumwa native returning to southeast Iowa to take advantage of a rare opportunity.

The American Gothic House has been empty since 2008, when the last tenant moved on. Built in 1881, the house was first owned by Charles and Catherine Dibble in 1887. Ten years later, the house was purchased by E.P. Forest Howard, who used the front room as a candy and novelty store. From May 1917 to September 1933 Gideon and Mary Jones occupied the house, during which time Grant Wood visited Eldon.

More information about the house

Fast forward a few decades to 1991, when Carl E. Smith donated the house to the State Historical Society of Iowa. Since then, the house has been rented by various local people including postmasters, a school teacher, and now by writer and pie baker Beth Howard.

“I can’t wait any longer! I’m so excited to get there,” Beth wrote to me Tuesday. She arrived yesterday afternoon, smiling and excited to start a new adventure in Eldon as the tenant in the American Gothic House.

I’ll let Beth do the rest of the talking. Following is a link to her blog entry about her visit to the American Gothic House Center just two short weeks ago. She includes photos of Eldon, her own American Gothic Parody (as well as one by her two dogs), and a peek inside the house.

Get to know the new American Gothic House tenant

Check out her website as well, especially if you (like me) have a thing for pie.

The World Needs More Pie

Welcome, Beth!

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