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Elk Horn (and Kimballton)

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Elk Horn and nearby Kimballton are the self-proclaimed capitals of the Danish settlement in Iowa. A Danish windmill ( MW046) is a landmark there.

The local house museum, the Bestemors House, is situated at the southeast corner of Union Street and College Avenue. If the date (1908) given for the construction of this one-and-a-half-story Queen Anne dwelling is correct, then it certainly represents the realization of an architectural image far out of then current fashion. The character of this house is expressed through the use of gables; these include the pair of wall gables at the front, those on the sides, one on the roof of the entry porch, and finally—the best one of all—a windowless gabled dormer set high in the center of the roof. The walls of the house are patterned with bands of shingles, and within the various gables there are sunrise patterns in cutout wood.

In nearby Kimballton, facing Iowa 173, is a miniature version of the famous “Little Mermaid” in Copenhagen. However, Kimballton's most interesting building is not Danish in style. It is the PWA Moderne Kimballton Town Hall (1941) built directly alongside commercial buildings facing onto the town's main street (Iowa 173). The two-story town hall was built by the WPA; its most powerful design feature is the entrance, with its surround of receding layers of brick, and its signage. The building has recently been brought up to date by the addition of little shingled shed roofs over each of the side windows on the ground floor.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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