25 Years of Sharing Ag Heritage

Celebrating 25 Years of Sharing Agriculture Heritage

In 2021 Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is celebrating 25 years of sharing the story of American Agriculture.

Iowa’s story is the story of American agriculture and the unique way it shaped the nation. No other region in the United States shares our rich agricultural heritage.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, located in Northeast Iowa, is one of 55 National Heritage Areas across America and is a partner of the National Park Service. Spread over 37 counties, our mission is to empower Iowa communities and heritage sites by telling the stories of
agriculture, the agricultural industry, nature, and farm life.

Silos & Smokestacks began in 1991 as an economic revitalization program for downtown Waterloo. The organization soon discovered that there was a rich variety of resources beyond the city limits of Waterloo that encompassed the significance of agricultural heritage and industry.

In 1992, the organization formally established itself as Silos & Smokestacks, a privately financed 501(c)(3), non-profit partnership dedicated to recognizing, preserving, promoting and celebrating northeastern Iowa’s contribution to world agriculture. In 1994, the National Park Service conducted a special resource study, and it acknowledged the national significance of the resources and heritage of the region and identified the region as a working landscape where residents have formed cooperative efforts to celebrate their heritage, revitalize their communities, and conserve natural and cultural resources.  Then, in 1996, this region was congressionally recognized as a National Heritage Area, operating under the name of Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.

See life through the eyes of a pioneer. Sample wine from the same vineyard where the grapes were grown. Hear the ring of the hammer in a restored blacksmith’s shop … see how electricity was first provided to rural communities … experience what it would have been like to work in a feed mill in the 19th century … discover firsthand where the agriculture industry has been and what it is today.

We cultivate experiences for people of all ages. Whether you want to learn what it was like on the farm at the turn of the century … identify Iowa’s native flora … tour a dairy farm or tractor assembly line … spectate or participate… stay for the day or for the week … Silos & Smokestacks
National Heritage Area has an agricultural adventure to fit your time frame and interest.

To plan your visit, click HERE to explore the heritage area.

Contests & Events

April 1-Dec. 31: Silos & Smokestacks Stamp Challenge

Visit one of Silos & Smokestacks’ official partner sites for a chance to win 25th Anniversary swag! Each site has a  personalized stamp. The first 25 people to get 25 stamps  in his or her visitor guide will receive a prize.

  • Bring your winning guide to Silos & Smokestacks Headquarters in
  • Waterloo, or post a picture to social media and tag us!
  • Must be completed in 2021; 25 different sites.
  • Only eligible to win one time.
  • All ages are eligible to win!

June 1-June 30: Kids Coloring Contest, more information coming soon!

June 1-Oct. 31: Capture the Heart of America Photo Contest. Click HERE for more information!

July 27: RAGBRAI is stopping in Waterloo. Are you riding? Visit Silos & Smokestacks Headquarters to learn more about the Heritage Area, go on the AgRide, take a photo, and pick up some cool swag!

Aug. 1: 25th Anniversary Farm-to-Table & Silos & Smokestacks Headquarters Grand Opening. Great food, live music, and games! More information coming soon!

Learn more about Silos & Smokestacks and American Agriculture

Instagram Tuesday Takeover: Every Tuesday one Silos & Smokestacks Official Partner Sites takes over our Instagram account. Check it out at Instagram.com/silosandsmokestacks

What in the Ag is This? Check out Silos & Smokestacks on Facebook.com/ssnha to learn about the oddest of objects in agriculture.