Winterset Things to Do

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    Marion Morrison's birthplace

    by etfromnc Updated Oct 2, 2013

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    On May 26, 1907, Clyde and Mary Morrison were blessed with the birth of a baby boy, whom they named Marion. The Morrison family was neither wealthy nor famous. Clyde was a pharmacist who worked in several Central Iowa locations during his career after attending Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. His son later described him as "the kindest, most patient man I ever knew." Of his mother, Marion (better known to us as John Wayne), said, "She was a tiny, vivacious, red-headed bundle of energy."
    On May 26, 2007, I was able to be in Winterset to take part in the centennial celebration of John Wayne's birth. For several days, I was able to step back 100 years in time and "almost" put myself in the shoes of a young boy growing up in rural Iowa to become one of the most well-known celebrities of the century in which he was born.
    His earliest years were spent in a small, 4-room house which has recently been restored to what it was like in in 1907. The house is filled with memorabilia from his movie career, family photos, and letters from luminaries ranging from Lucille Ball to Ronald Reagan.
    There is a welcome center/gift shop adjacent to the house which was doing a land-rush business the week that I was there. They also sell their wares online at the website below. On Sunday of the centennial celebration week, ground was broken for a John Wayne Museum and Gift Shop diagonally behind the birthplace at the opposite corner of the same block. It should be open by now. Don't miss it, and I'm looking fforward to hearing how great it is. Tours of the birthplace are available seven days per week, all year, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter Sunday, from 10 until 4:30. The cost for admission and a guided tour is $3, $2.50 for people 55 or older, and $1 for children 12 and under.
    Membership in the John Wayne Birthplace Society costs $35 or more and members receive such premiums as a Congressional Gold Medal coin, an 8" x 10" picture of John Wayne, a membership certificate, and membership card. For $100 or more, members receive the above plus a 12" x 16" print of John Wayne.

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    John Wayne's Birth Place

    by basstbn Updated Apr 4, 2011
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    Legendary film actor John Wayne was born as Marion Robert Morrison in this modest house in 1907. The home has been restored to its 1907 appearance with authentic furnishings, and features memorabilia from John Wayne's career. Guided tours available. A new John Wayne Museum adjacent to the birth home is in the funding and planning process.

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    Madison County Covered Bridge Festival

    by worldglobetrotter Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Roseman Bridge

    The 2005 Covered Bridge Festival will take place on the court house square Oct. 8-9.

    Each year during the second full weekend in October, residents of Madison County and beyond gather together to celebrate the historic covered bridges of Madison County.
    The festival features old-time craft demonstrations, a plethora of food vendors, music, antique vehicle parade, classic car show, farmer's market, quilt show, a spelling bee and much, much more.

    There are also guided tours of the five remaining covered bridges in the county.

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    Imes Bridge

    by basstbn Updated Feb 18, 2010
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    If you are zipping by on Interstate 35 and wish to see a covered bridge, but don't have time to tour all six of the remaining bridges, consider the Imes Bridge, just a mile off the interstate at the St. Charles exit. Built in 1870, it is the oldest of the surviving covered bridges of Madison County. (not in its original location)

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    Hallowell Bridge

    by basstbn Written Feb 17, 2010

    The longest of the remaining Madison County covered bridges is the Hollowell at 122 feet. Constructed in 1880 over the Middle River. On the National Register of Historic Places, and featured in the movie, "Bridges of Madison County."

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    Cedar Covered Bridge

    by basstbn Written Feb 17, 2010

    Cedar is the only covered bridge of Madison County allowing automobile traffic. The bridge is a 2004 rebuild of the original 1883 version which was destroyed by an arsonist's fire in 2002. Even though a replica, Cedar Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Crosses Cedar Creek north of Winterset.

    In the book and later movie "Bridges of Madison County," Cedar Bridge is where Francesca Johnson goes to meet Robert Kincaid to help him take photographs. Cedar Bridge is shown on the cover of this bestselling novel. Oprah Winfrey televised an episode of her show from Cedar Bridge in 1993.

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    Hogback Covered Bridge

    by basstbn Updated Feb 17, 2010

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    One of the fabled "Bridges of Madison County," listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hogback Covered Bridge is named after the limestone ridge which forms the west end of the valley.
    Built in 1884, Hogback Bridge measures 97 feet, and is in its original location in a valley north of Winterset.

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    Cedar Covered Bridge (1883, 2004)

    by blanter Written Oct 30, 2006
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    This bridge, located basically within the town limits of Winterset, was lost due to arson in 2002 and replaced by a replica in 2004. This is the only bridge open to car traffic (even though there is a regular bridge on a road next to it). The replica still smells freshly cutted wood, but otherwise looks quite impressive.

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    Roseman Bridge

    by worldglobetrotter Written Jul 19, 2005

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    Roseman Bridge

    Probably the most famous of the remaining covered bridges in Winterset, the Roseman Bridge also holds special meaning in the hearts of fans of the book and movie.

    Located in the country, it's a picturesque scene when you come up to the bridge. There is also a gift shop next to the bridge, offering several movie-themed items, including postcards, T-shirts, mugs, magnets, movies, Roseman bridge earrings, etc.

    Several couples get married on the Roseman Bridge each year.

    The Roseman Bridge was built in 1883, renovated in 1992. In the book and movie, this is the bridge Robert Kincaid is seeking when he stops by Francesca's house for directions. And hence, the romance begins.

    It's also known as the haunted bridge. Two sheriff's posses trapped a man who escaped from the county jail in 1892. According to local lore, uttering a wild cry, it is said the man rose up straight through the roof of the bridge and disappeared. He was never found. They decided that anyone capable of such a feat must be innocent.

    You can feel a breeze through the center of the bridge and on warm summer nights, it is believed that you can hear footsteps running across the bridge.

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    Stone arch

    by Lorro Written Nov 17, 2004

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    Winterset park

    In the movie Robert and Franchesca go to a secret place lost in the woods somewhere to have a picnic and time where they could be completely alone. Well, this place is actually right in the center of Winterset City Park so its not that secret after all, and easy for you to find.

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    Roseman Bridge

    by Lorro Updated Nov 17, 2004

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    Roseman Bridge

    Featured in the movie, the Roseman Bridge has some history of its own, its known as the "haunted bridge" from when a jail escapee in 1892 was cornered there by police, supposedly he rose up through the roof of the bridge and escaped and was never found.. so they decided someone capable of such a thing must be innocent...
    Yes, of course, makes perfect sense.

    The bridge was weathered for the movie to make it look more worn down, the way it would have looked in the 50s when the story takes place.

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    Cedar Bridge

    by Lorro Updated Nov 17, 2004

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    Cedar Bridge

    This bridge (well, the original) was on the cover of the movie and on Sept 3, 2002 it was burned by an arsonist and in this picture, taken August, 2004 it was being rebuilt and has since been finished. Maybe the person was mad about the questionable morals of the characters of the film, or the new tourist interest it had brought to the town or both or something else. Who knows why they did such a selfish thing. So far the person(s) have not been caught and there is a reward of $41,000 offered for information leading to their arrest and conviction. They also attepted to burn "Franchescas house", and the Hogback bridge.

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    Tourist Information

    by Lorro Written Nov 17, 2004

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    Winterset main square

    First stop: in the center of town, go to the Tourist office, its next to the right of where this picture was taken, in the main square. They can give you lots of information on where to go and what to see. Otherwise you will get lost for sure. :)

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    Madison County Courthouse

    by basstbn Written Feb 17, 2010

    This stately courthouse dates to 1876, and presides over the town square, a pleasant reminder of turn-of-the-century America. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

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    Imes Covered Bridge (1870)

    by blanter Written Nov 4, 2006
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    The oldest remaining brodge in Madison County, and the furtherst one from Winterset (about 30 minutes East). Similarly to Cutler-Donahoe, there is no river, and the roof is two-sided sharp.

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