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Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve

As one of the original designated Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area sites, the Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve has been sharing their agricultural connection since 2001. The connection is as the historical site of the Rockford Brick & Tile Company. This company was well known in northeastern Iowa as the chosen source of drainage tile and bricks until the mid-1970’s. Since opening the Fossil & Prairie Center, the area welcomes 5,000 visitors annually.

Staff and volunteers have worked to maintain the beehive kilns used in the production of the tiles, as well as share the stories of the employees through interpretative signage and displays.

Trained Center Docents welcome visitors and share their knowledge throughout the visitor season. Although the Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve may be best known for the Devonian fossils that can be collected there, it is the Rockford Brick & Tile Co. that can be credited for the accidental discovery. Spring and Fall are popular times for visitors and school groups to visit the Park to collect fossils and discover some of the local history of Park. Schools continue to make the Park a designation field trip coming from central Iowa to extreme eastern Iowa to visit.

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