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Twombly Museum

801 First St.
Keosauqua, IA 52565

Keosauqua's landmark limestone Twombly Building was named to the National Register of Historic Places on July 29th, 1993. The building was constructed around 1875. The two-story rectangular building was constructed of native limestone with a rusticated surface measuring 50 by 25 feet. The largest blocks are 10 inches high by 18 inches wide by eight inches deep and were placed in corners. There is evidence the windows were added later.

 It was often said that Voltaire Paine Twombly had the construction done. Historical records refute this, but Twombly was the first occupant. He ran a grocery store downstairs and the lived on the second floor. Twombly sold the building in 1892.

For a time it housed a bakery and was a source of supply to Kelly's Army, a branch of Coxey's Army. The so-called Army was comprised of unemployed men who rafted down the Des Moines River on the way to Washington D.C. to protest their unemployment during the Depression of the 1890's. The men were considered rowdy and were not allowed to disembark at Keosauqua. Local merchants like the bakery supplied their food which was taken to the boats.

By 1912, the building became the Keosauqua’s post office on the first floor and a telephone company on the second floor. Later the second floor held the Draft Board offices. The Keosauqua Fire Dept. Bell Tower was erected next to the Twombly Building where it still stands today.

Voltaire P. Twombly, as a Van Buren County native, is honored for earning the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War, won at the Battle of Fort Donelson. Twombly also served in Van Buren County Government and as Iowa's State Treasurer from 1885-1891. He is buried in the Pittsburg Cemetery. 

Today, the building is maintained by the Van Buren County Historical Society.

 



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