"Preserving the Past for the Future"


(up to Memorial weekend 2017)

Call (515) 602-6000
Early Fire Departments

    The first fire Department in Clarion was organized in 1887.  Fire equipment consisted of one small pump operated by man power or a team of horses, a hose cart, and 500 feet of hose.  The water supply for fighting fires consisted of two five hundred cisterns - one located at Central Avenue and Main Street and the other cistern at First Avenue North and Main Street.  The first big fire in March 1893 destroyed several wooden buildings in the North Business Block.  Several cisterns were added but a second big fire in 1900 leveled four buildings in the north end of the Center Business.  The nearby cisterns were soon pumped dry and nothing much could be done because of the lack of water.

     Some of the early fire engines or pumpers were operated by hand and the handles worked up and down like a teeter totter.  The apparatus that arrived in Clarion was more up to date.  It had four sweeps which could be pushed around by twelve or sixteen men or a team of horses could be hitched on one of the sweeps.

     There was quite a bit of racing and rivalry and sometimes a good fight between the teamsters of that time to see who could get there first when the fire bell rang and hitch their team to the pumper.  The pay for the team ranged from $2.50 to $3.50 depending on the time it took to put out the fire.

     At a special session held August 12, 1887, the trustees voted to purchase 500 feet of 2 ½ inch cotton hose at $.60 per foot and a two-wheeled hand hose cart for $100 from the American Fire Hose Manufacturing Company in Davenport.

     In the early 1900's, Clarion hosted the Annual Wright County Fireman's Tournament and Picnic.  Events included hose cart races, tugs of war, wheelbarrow, sack, and three-legged races, ladder climbing, wrestling, and several ball games.  A platform had been erected for the exhibition wrestling match put on by Frank Gotch of Humboldt and local barber Burt Gregory.  Maurice Birdsall pitched in the baseball game and Clarion won.

     In 1904, the council issued bonds for erecting a water tower with tank, digging a deep well, and laying ten blocks of water main.  The digging of the well was delayed because the contractor had trouble getting a sufficient flow of water until he had gone down 275 feet.  Water mains were added over time and fires could then be put out by direct pressure.

     The first motorized engine was purchased in 1918.  Bought in Minnesota, it took two days for it to arrive in Clarion because of the wet and muddy roads in Minnesota and the crowds of people in each town they went through who wanted to inspect the newest and latest in firefighting equipment. Heartland has a firefighting exhibit on the 50's street and several pieces of early equipment as pictured here.

Thanks to Our Donors! 

Legacy  $1,000 +
Bakewell Foundation
Caroline Lund
Murray & Valerie Wise
Dr. Sandra Sellers Hanson

Champion $500+
Warren & Julie Clausen
John & Barbara Hagie
Larry & Melanie Massdam
Maurice & Gladys Riley
Wright County Monitor
Bob Stevens
Advocate $250+ 
R.B. & Donna      Bartholomaus
Dewayne & Mary    Knoshaug
James & Diane Middleton
Dan & Lynne Odland
Margaret O'Neill
Tim & Jayne Pate
First Citizens National Bank
Suzanne Deimerly
Rose Marie Draheim
Town & Country Realty

Patron $100+
Larry & Marilyn Anderson
Jim & Terri Avery
Dick & Shirley Berens
George & Sally Boyington
Morris Brandt
Randall Burt
Kim Clausen
Ruth Cline
Bill & Jane Dettman
James & TerriLynn Elsey
Alice Espe
Roger & Rickie Ewing
T&C Ins/First State Bank
Ardith Frohling
Kevin & Betty Hadley
Steve & Shirley Hill
Ann Hines
Tony & Renee Holmes
Rich & Barb Mussman
Vernon & Viola Ratclif
Thomas & Judith  Schroder
Scott & Deb Sebby
Susan Sebby
James & Joan Sellers
Frank & Ellen Siemens
Larry & Jan Taylor
Allen & Mary Tesdahl
Betty Lou Thompson
Karen Weld
Gary & Sally Woodley
Bud & Bonnie Young
Ron & Florine Swanson
Duane D. Asbe
Bob & JoAnne Olson
Ron & Linda Anderson
Ted & Linda Brigger
Roger & Nj Collier
Stewart & Vicki Iverson
Shirley & Yvonne Stevens
Prarie Energy

(As of 3 March 2017)

Wish to Help with Future Projects?
Send your contribution to:

Heartland Museum  
PO Box 652
Clarion, IA 50525  

Addy Foertsch

Addy Foertsch is a student in UNI's public history class. As part of that class, she has to spend 15 hours with a museum.  She chose Heartland and is making an early agriculture trunk containing artifacts that can be checked out by local schools to give students hands on materials for their learning. We are delighted to be working with her.

Woodin Family History

Heartland Museum was delighted to receive this piece of Woodin Family history from Terri and Carol born Woodin.  It has some early history and delightful stories from different family members. "In 1882, Dennis Woodin bought 320 acres in Grant township, Wright County, Iowa.  He only had to pay for 304 acres because a lake was included.  There were no roads, only trails following the high ground along the marsh.  He gave this  as a wedding gift to his son John, and John and his wife, Elizabeth, made Wright County their home."  See this and other family histories in Heartland's library.

Feedback Booth

Joe and Augie Scoto from Merced, CA, visited Heartland.  They had this to say: "Heartland Museum is at the top of our list.  You have a wonderful museum and talented volunteers."

  Steve and Jack Bragglman from Minnesota took advantage of the day off for President's Day to visit Heartland.

Do You Remember?

On a cold day going out to the well after a pail of drinking water and putting your tongue on the frosty pump handle?

When every farmer had to work on the road on which they lived? They called this working out their poll tax.

March 1 was moving day regardless of the weather?

Losing your boots as you had to walk across the cow yards?

Early sign of spring when a laying hen turned into a setting hen?

Like Heartland Museum on Facebook to get weekly updates!

  Like us on Facebook
Upcoming events at Heartland Museum

Always open by appointment. Call us at 
Meeting Room Available!

Heartland Museum has a meeting room available for rent.  Groups like it for meetings, graduations, weddings, funerals, class reunions.  We have new handicap accessible bathrooms and tiled serving area.  Tables and chairs can be set up for your needs.