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About 8 miles northwest of Larchwood, at the extreme northwestern point of Iowa, is the Gutchie Manitou State Monument. This 48-acre park situated on the east bank of the Big Sioux River was originally a stone quarry worked by state prison laborers. It was one of the state's early parks, having been acquired in 1919. The stone quarried here was Sioux quartzite, a material often used in construction. The architectural triumph of the park is its stone picnic shelter (c. 1930). The shelter will please anyone enamored of the “picturesque garden,” for it is almost a grotto, partially sunken into a low rise of ground. The front has three openings placed between two thick piers. At the back of the shelter is a large fireplace. The shelter is a perfect example of the rustic image used for park architecture. To reach Gutchie Manitou State Monument, proceed west 5.3 miles from Larchwood on route A18 and turn north on route K10; the park entrance is 4.3 miles farther.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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