The "American Gothic" house stands in popularity and recognizability in Iowa history next to places like the "Field of Dreams" or the Old Capitol as a longtime tourist attraction for visitors. But its history traces as far back as the 1880s. It was initially constructed as the home of Charles Dibbie, and up until the late 20th century, according to Wikipedia, it was a residential property for the most part.

At some point, the home caught the eye of famed Iowa artist Grant Wood who came to appreciate it immensely as a tourist and the rest is history. He made it arguably his most well-known masterpiece as a painting he started in 1930 in Cedar Rapids.

American Gothic House becomes a historic landmark

In 1991, KCCI reports, the family that owned the home at that time, surrendered the deed to the property to the Iowa State Historical Society, who have since fulfilled their promise to restore and preserve its iconic history for those who choose to go visit it. The land the house sits on now includes the iconic house as well as a visitors center.

It officially earned a listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. As Eldon is not much of a drive from Cedar Rapids, you are welcome to visit in person, but the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA) happens to have opened an exhibit surrounding all things Grant Wood and American Gothic.

Grant Wood: From Farm Boy to American Icon offers an expansive look at Wood’s life and career though his art. Housed in one of our largest first-floor galleries, this installation reflects the depth of the CRMA’s Grant Wood collection as well as the great breadth of Woods’ career, cut tragically short by his death in 1942

Please note, per the website of the American Gothic House and Center, the interior of the house is CLOSED. Visiting hours for the complex can be found here. Don't forget, with much of his life's work still on display in Eastern Iowa, you're also able to see where he was laid to rest, at Riverside Cemetary in Anamosa.

There is a lot to learn about Iowa artists at the CRMA

While you're checking out the exhibit on the life and story of Grant Wood, you may also be inspired to visit an installation on another artistic Iowan. Marvin Cone was born in and spent most of his life in Cedar Rapids. He went on to college in Paris, but later came back to the U.S. and Iowa, where he helped found the Stone City Art Colony and served as a professor at Coe College.

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art salutes Black History

VIsit the CRMA for more exhibits, including "Freedom's Daughters". Cedar Rapids artist Kathy Schumacher pays homage to "the largely-unknown heroines of Black suffrage in the United States, from the late nineteenth century to the present day."

Learn more here.

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