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Spillville

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The small Czech community of Spillville is situated on the Turkey River southwest of Decorah. The terrain at this point begins to form the soft, rolling prairie that we associate with central Iowa. On the river itself are the remains of Joseph Spielman's 1849 mill and dam. In the center of town on Main Street is a two-story former commercial building, the Wenzil Taylor Building (c. 1860s). This two-story brick-fronted, stone-sided building is Italianate, with small arched windows and entrance door, a suggestion of cornice quoining in brick, and brackets below the projecting brick cornice. The building served as a summer residence in 1893 for the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. Since 1947 the building has housed the House of Clocks. The core of this collection is comprised of clocks produced locally by the Bily brothers, Frank and Joseph. These clocks in themselves are wonderful miniaturized fantasies of architecture, and they have as much to say about architectural images as some actual buildings. The building housing the House of Clocks is open to the public.

Writing Credits

Author: 
David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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