Tucked among the rolling hills, natural woodlands and flowing rivers of southeast Iowa, Mount Pleasant preserves and celebrates its rich past through a multitude of unique historical sites and attractions. From major communitywide events to interesting museums, residents and visitors alike get to experience the area’s cherished heritage and natural resources, while simultaneously commemorating the community’s bright prospects.
Mount Pleasant’s most highly anticipated and largest event is the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, which draws in around 50,000 people over five days each year. An assortment of exhibits, educational programming and demonstrations depict Midwestern rural heritage at this popular event, held the final week in August – with the last day falling on Labor Day. Through the event’s highlighted displays and activities, visitors can examine operating steam engines and antique tractors, cars and trucks, while enjoying great food, shopping and musical entertainment.
Antique car lovers will enjoy the Red Flag Horseless Carriage Tour the last weekend in September. Vintage vehicles and their drivers flock to Mount Pleasant for this four-day event showcasing vintage vehicles and vintage vehicle touring as they celebrate the beginning of modern transportation.
Distinctive museums, teeming with historically significant items and information, paint a clear picture of Mount Pleasant’s past. The Midwest Old Threshers Heritage Museum is a great place to experience the agricultural legacy of the area. On display are steam engines – including the largest Case 110 horsepower – a working threshing machine, antique tractors and farm implements, with a number of prominent exhibits highlighting a variety of agricultural-related topics.
If it’s the stage you are passionate about, make sure to stop in the Theatre Museum of Repertoire Americana, an historical tribute to the area’s theatrical heritage that was made possible through the dedication of the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association. The museum is teeming with a collection of unique memorabilia and photographs from early American entertainment. Stage curtains, playbills, costumes and more from famous touring theatre troupes of the 1850s are presented.Nearby Salem is home to the Lewelling Quaker Museum, which was once known as the main ticket office for the historic Underground Railroad. The structure was built to hide escaping slaves with the use of special closets, trapdoors and cubbyholes. Today, the museum contains household artifacts typical of the 1840s – reminders of the anti-slavery movement. Nearby historic sites and museums not to miss include the Dover Museum, the Swedish American Museum in Swedesburg, the Wayland Museum and the Winfield Museum.
Special events for the whole family can be found throughout the year in Mount Pleasant. The Midwest Central Railroad provides great events throughout the year, including an October “Ghost Train of No Return and the Ghostly Trolley” for all ages and a holiday “North Pole Express” train ride for children. Summer music events and Main Street Mount Pleasant’s Annual Chili Challenge and the Red Flag Horseless Carriage Tour in the fall add to the great entertainment found here.
Visitors taking advantage of these attractions and events can choose from a selection of accommodations in the Mount Pleasant area. The area’s hotels and motels offer a range of amenities and top-notch hospitality. Choice lodging options to choose from include the Best Western, Comfort Inn and Suites, Rodeway Inn and Super 8 Motel. For those who enjoy sleeping under the stars the list includes such sites as the Crossroads RV Park and modern cabins at Oakland Mills Park.
Travelers can find more information on Mount Pleasant and Henry County’s attractions and amenities at the Henry County Tourism website, www.henrycountytourism.com, and the Mount Pleasant Chamber Alliance’s website, www.mountpleasantiowa.org.