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Pilot Knob State Park

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1922, acquired. Drive east of Forest City on US 69, then east on Iowa 9 to route R72
  • Observation Tower (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)

This wooded park of over 300 acres alongside Lime Creek was acquired by the state in 1922. Its name is derived from a 300-foot-high hill where one can obtain a magnificent view of the surrounding prairieland. The romantic gem of the park is the 40-foot-high rough stone tower on top of the hill. As one approaches this tower, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, it appears to be the remains of a medieval castle. Note the stone-and-wood outdoor amphitheater and the rustic, almost vernacular, medieval-style two-story service building (originally designed for horses and automobiles). The park itself is beautifully designed with a system of roads and paths that wind around the undulating wooded hills.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Pilot Knob State Park", [Forest City, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 386-387.

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