The Covered Bridges of Madison County
Six of Madison County’s original nineteen covered bridges remain, including Roseman and Holliwell which were featured in the movie The Bridges of Madison County. All six are open to the public. Maps are available at the Chamber’s Welcome Center!
John Wayne Birthplace & Museum
Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset in 1907, and Winterset has the only museum in the world dedicated to the Hollywood legend (who later adopted the name John Wayne). Visitors have access to the largest private collection of John Wayne memorabilia, as well as his birthplace home.
Iowa Quilt Museum
The only quilt museum in Iowa, the IQM welcomes quilters, quilt lovers, history buffs, and all appreciators of American art and culture. The museum offers changing exhibits of American quilts. The current exhibit is “Midwest Modern.”
Madison County Historical Complex
Located on 25 picturesque acres, the complex houses 14 buildings (mostly authentic) and over 10,000 artifacts of local history. The crown jewel of the complex is the 1856 Bevington-Kaser House constructed by C.D. “Doc” Bevington.
The Iowa Theater
This historic cinema has been completely renovated and showcases new movies, classic movies and live stage performances. Grab a selfie under the incredible marquee!
Winterset Historic Courthouse Retail District
At the heart of Madison County and the center of Winterset stands a beautiful 1876 limestone courthouse. The entire retail district surrounding it recently won “Outstanding Retail Experience” at the Iowa Tourism Awards. The courthouse square is also home to the Madison County Farmers Market every Saturday morning from May to October.
“Bridges of Madison County” movie sites
This beloved movie was filmed entirely in Madison County in 1994 (with the exception of one scene filmed in Adel). Employees at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center are happy to provide you with directions to the sites around the county.
Pammel State Park
One of the first State Parks in Iowa, this 350-acre park is the perfect place to hike, fish, canoe or kayak, camp, spy birds and other wildlife, and much more.
City Park and Clark Tower
City Park consists of 76 acres and features three limestone shelter houses, play equipment, restrooms, picnic areas, a campground, and well-maintained hedge maze. Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge is also located in the park, as is Clark Tower - a limestone monument resembling a castle and one of Iowa’s hidden gems.
Madison County has plenty of places to stop and sip. Covered Bridges Winery, Madison County Winery, Big Rack Brewery, 1st Down Brewing Co., The Drift, and Winterset Cidery offer local wines, beers, hard cider, and/or cocktails. Some offer patios and live music in addition.
The Mural Wall
Des Moines artist James Navarro graced the entire side of Turning Point’s brick building with custom murals, making this alleyway very special. The murals, which feature local history, as well as Alice in Wonderland and Nintendo’s Mario character, are meant to be interactive. Step up to the murals and snap your best selfies!
George Washington Carver Park
George Washington Carver was a famous scientist, humanitarian, and artist who arrived in Winterset in 1888, where he lived for two years before starting at Simpson College. Carver Park stands next to the former hotel where he worked (now the Winterset Fire Station) and includes a memorial marker, short walkway, and a mural created by students.
From Chinese to Mexican, to American comfort food and fresh new favorites, there’s plenty to eat around town. Looking for a quick treat? Don’t miss the fresh apple fritters at The Bakery or cool off with ice cream treats at Frostees!
George Stout Storybook
This scenic byway grant-funded public art piece by Michael Goodall, located on the corner of Washington Street and 1st Avenue, honors Winterset’s own George Leslie Stout (who George Clooney portrayed in the film “The Monuments Men”). Stout was an American art conservation specialist and museum director who led the Twelfth Army Group in recovering art stolen by the Nazis in World War II.
The Madison County Freedom Rock, painted by Bubba Sorensen, is located on the grounds of the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum at the corner of Washington Street and 2nd Street. Sorensen has donated his time and skill in painting patriotic images on boulders in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.