Fremont County Historical Museum
Fremont County Historical Museum
Located on the east side of the courthouse square in Sidney Iowa.
Open 1 to 4 p.m. each Sunday during the summer.
Fremont County Museum / Rodeo Complex
A partnership between the Rodeo Organization, Legion Auxiliary and Fremont County Historical Society with the Sidney Chamber of Commerce assisting.
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The Fremont County Historical Museum is located in Sidney on the east side of the courthouse square. It was established around 1976 and is a fascinating place to visit where you will find:
- An Indian room takes you back to the days when Indians roamed this area, including a fine portrait of Chief Waubonsie, the Pottawatomi Indian who made this part of Iowa his home.
- Showcased in the large main museum room are items used by pioneer families such as glassware and china, photo albums, cameras, war memorabilia, and an exhibit of objects from the 1903 Sears Catalog.
- A view of objects from early doctors' offices offer insight into a time when diseases were more frightening.
- A cutter, a surrey with the fringe on top, a bobsled, a horse-drawn hearse, and some farm implements are featured.
- Mastodon Tusks, Dinosaur Bones and Fossils found in the nearby Loess Hills.
- A genealogy room and a library contain records for family research.
- Period rooms and a country store of the 1880's show how life was lived in that long ago time. Penn Drug's original 1863 back bar, prescription counter and many related items are on display.
- Children's toys, miniature models of early transportation, period clothing and quilts add to the fascinating presentations.
Sunnyside Country School
Sunnyside was one of the many country schools that once dotted the countryside in Fremont County. It was moved to the museum complex in sidney to preserve and display. It looks like it did when children attended and contains the old wooden desks with the inkwells, the stove that kept the students warm, the recitation bench and other items. It is open by appointment.
The Gathering Place
Built in 1893, the Gathering Place served as home to the First Baptist Church of sidney for the first 70 years. It was gifted to the society in 1966 and has undergone extensive restoration and remodeling beginning in 2001.
On June 11, 2006 it opened as "The Gathering Place," Fremont County's Educational and Performing Arts Center. Monthly educational programs or performing art productions are planned by the Society. It will also be available on a rental basis for use by individuals and organizations.
- I wanted to send a quick note to thank the people of Southwest Iowa for the warm reception I received when there to perform my one-person play on the life of Dr. George Washington Carver, entitled "Listening to the Still Small Voice," at "The Gathering Place" in Sidney. I've portrayed Dr. Carver over 100 times in 17 US States and England, and am hard pressed to remember a more welcoming and attentive audience. "The Gathering Place" is indeed a treasure. From my hosts, Marilyn and Lynn Benson, to the individuals I met at the Shenandoah Rotary Meeting, to those I met at the performances, all were great ambassadors for their communities; in addition to seeing old friends from my time at Iowa State, including the Nortons, the Smiths, and Craig and Kathy Harris and Mrs. Brownlee, I made many new friends, including Evelyn Corrie Birkby and two youthful sisters who I am told are among the best caterers in the area. Thank you. As you may know, the state and people of Iowa played a large role in the development of George Washington Carver. From his time in Winterset, Indianola, and Ames, Carver would gain some of the most cherished friendships of his life. It was in Iowa that he was given the tools and confidence to serve the world. It was my pleasure to return to Iowa and pay tribute to that state and its people. I would also like to thank Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities for the grant which made this program possible. I encourage you to learn more about Dr. Carver, and to consider visiting me at Carver National Monument in Diamond, MO. Again, thank you; your hospitality was much noted and appreciated.
Paxton J. Williams
The society also owns the Ferrel House, an 1871 Italianate house in Randolph. It has been restored and features period rooms from its construction until the 1940s. Thelma Ferrel, the last owner, gave the house and it's contents to the society and since then it has been restored and contains many treasures.
For more information about any of these sites or for a tour, call the main museum at 712-374-3221, 712-374-2320 or 712-374-2335. For the Ferrel House call 712-625-4411.