Public Exposition Palaces set the bar for Iowa tourism

A picture of one of the palaces

Itâ??s something many people havenâ??t heard of, but has a rich history in the state of Iowa.

Theyâ??re called public exposition palaces and five of them were constructed in Iowa all in the early 1890â??s.

On Tuesday morning, the Reminisce Society brought in public exposition palace enthusiast Bill Sherman to speak about the significance of the palaces and the impact they had on Iowa.

Sherman said the palaces are the possibly the first examples of regional economic development in a regional tourism program, a very unique way of attracting national visibility in Iowa.

The City of Bridges even had its very own palace.

â??Well Ottumwa should be very proud of their coal palace. Ottumwa was the first community in America to create a coal palace and I believe there's been only three coal palaces created in the U.S. and the Ottumwa palace was by far the most significant,â?? said Sherman.

You can find a replica of the coal palace at the Wapello County Historical Society Museum in Ottumwa.

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