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    Ackley Heritage Area

    upl_ackley-heritage-centerThe story of the Ackley Heritage Center is told in a new way as a result of the installation of seven new signs in accordance to the recently established Signage Guidelines developed by Silos & Smokestacks.  The purpose of the Guidelines is to raise visitor and public awareness, assist visitors in navigating through our region’s different sites and ultimately link the agricultural stories of the Heritage Area together.  The Ackley Heritage Center is the first of the Silos & Smokestacks partner sites to use the Signage Guidelines.

    The Ackley Heritage Center is comprised of three different locations in Ackley, IA.  The Settlement of the Prairie, Heritage Center, and Heritage Center Museum & Soda Shop are dedicated to preserving and interpreting what life was like for the fist Ackley pioneers, most from Ostfriesland, Germany.
    The Settlement of the Prairie historical site uses new outdoor panel signs to interpret a prairie-style barn, 1871 I-house, windmill, country school, restored prairie, and glacial landscape.  The seven signs identify the four structures, and interpret the restored prairie site, vegetation and landscape in a way that enhances the visitor experience.  According to Tom Woods, member of the SSNHA Signage Committee and designer of the Ackley signs, “the advantage of outdoor signage was that we could place the interpretation within a restored prairie and adjacent to the structures themselves, making the interpretation more immediate and meaningful.”

    Along with the Settlement of the Prairie, two additional sites also make up the Ackley Heritage Center.  The Heritage Center houses the site’s office and is a great place to browse photos and research the lives of early settlers.  The Heritage Center Museum & Soda Shop is an operating old fashioned ice cream parlor that serves as a fundraiser as well as a real-life exhibit of an early Ackley business. Ackley Heritage Center received a grant in 2001 from Silos & Smokestacks to create an Agricultural History exhibit inside the Settlement of the Prairie barn.  This project will be completed later this year and will illustrate Ackley and the surrounding area’s history of agriculture from the forming of prairie soil and vegetation, arrival of Indians and corn, and turning the prairie to farmland.  A second grant was obtained the following year to fund the interpretation, design and installation of the new Settlement of the Prairie signs.  Be sure to visit Ackley June 23rd – 26th for the Sauerkraut Days community celebration and view the new interpretative signs.

    For more information about this site, visit or call Bev Ryken at (641) 847-2201 or Jim Daggs at 641-847-2405.  For a copy of the Silos & Smokestacks Signage Design Guidelines, please contact the Silos & Smokestacks Office at 319-234-4567 or

    Topics: Spotlight Site

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