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Fossile & Prairie Park Preserve

As a Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area original partner site, the Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve has been sharing their agricultural connection of the story 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. 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. Staff and volunteers have worked to maintain the historic site production site including the original beehive kilns as well as share the stories of the employees through interpretative signage and displays.

Since opening the Fossil & Prairie Center in 2001, the area welcomes 5,000 visitors annually. Volunteers welcome visitors and share their knowledge throughout the visitor season. The Fossil & Prairie Center contains exhibits on the history of the Rockford Brick & Tile Company as well as on the Devonian fossils, Iowa’s native prairie and Backyard wildlife. Many schools travel to the Park as a designation field trip. The fossils they collect provide a hands-on story of Iowa historical past, 365 million years ago to the Devonian period.

During the year the Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve is host to many events such as: the Jon Tumilson “Go Crush It” 5K Challenge, the Fossil & Prairie Park 5K Run/Walk, ISU Extension Master Conservationist course

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