Oskaloosa is a city in Mahaska County, Iowa. It is the county seat and was a national center for bituminous coal mining during the late nineteenth century. Its population was 11,558 as of the 2020 U.S. Census. Oskaloosa offers several things to do for families. Among them are Downtown Oskaloosa, Lake Keomah State Park, Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum, and Oskaloosa City Park & Band Stand.
Oskaloosa, Iowa, is a city located in Mahaska County. During the late nineteenth century, the city was a center of bituminous coal mining. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a population of 11,558 in 2020. In the past, the city has been a center of industry, but now it is a tourist city with many attractions.
The city has several historical buildings and is home to a thriving downtown. One of its main thoroughfares is Market Street, also known as Iowa Route 63. Another major thoroughfare is A Avenue, also known as Iowa Route 92. The city’s downtown also includes the city park. The city was awarded a Preserve America Community designation in 2006.
Oskaloosa is home to the City Square Commercial Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the center of town, City Square Park includes a 1912 Bandstand and is a focal point of the district. In 2004, the City Square Commercial Historic District was formally designated as a local historic district, subject to review by the Oskaloosa Historic Preservation Commission.
Oskaloosa Main Street is accredited by the Main Street America program. The main objective of the program is to revitalize a city’s downtown area through preservation-based economic development. Its evaluation criteria include fostering a strong public-private partnership, actively revitalizing historic buildings, and documenting programmatic progress.
The Oskaloosa Historic Preservation Project, Phase II, focused on six buildings west of the town square. The buildings were identified through a formal “Slum and Blight Survey” and determined to need restoration. Following approval by the Oskaloosa Historic Preservation Commission, Curtis Architecture & Design prepared designs for the facade restoration projects. The work is expected to be completed in September 2020.
Oskaloosa is a charming and historic county seat located southeast of Des Moines. During the late nineteenth century, it was a center for bituminous coal mining. Today, it serves as the capital of Mahaska County.
Lake Keomah State Park
Visitors to Mahaska County, Iowa may enjoy the lake at Lake Keomah State Park, located four miles east of Oskaloosa. The state park is also home to Keomah Village, located about four miles away. The park is a beautiful setting for hiking, swimming, and boating.
The park offers many amenities, including 63 campgrounds. Some have electrical hookups, showers, and flush toilets. Several of these are reservable. The park also offers a lake-accessible unsupervised beach for swimming and other water sports.
Visitors to Lake Keomah State Park in Iowa may also enjoy the park’s walking trail. The park’s three-mile loop features grass and crushed rock surfaces and takes in a variety of wildlife habitats. This hiking trail is also linked to designated winter trails and to a fishing jetty. In the winter, ice fishing is a popular activity.
If you want to spend a day outdoors with your family, Lake Keomah State Park in Iowa is a great place to visit. The state park is surrounded by beautiful woods and a man-made lake. It’s close to William Penn College, Pella, and Sigourney.
The park’s history dates back to 1933. It was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide jobs for unmarried men during the Great Depression. They were responsible for building the dam at Lake Keomah and other buildings in the park. In addition, two areas of the park are on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s even a bathhouse that still serves a function, but it has been adapted to different uses.
The park offers primitive RV and tent camping, and you can bring pets if you wish. However, you should be aware of rules related to your pets. Electric service is available in some campsites, but not all of them. You can choose to use the park’s twenty or thirty-amp electric service.
Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum
The Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum is a farm museum in Mahaska County, Iowa, which is owned and operated by the County Historical Society. The museum features 14 historic buildings, a genealogy library, and special events throughout the open season. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
The museum houses artifacts dating back to the early 1800s. You can learn about the agricultural and medical history of Mahaska County and even get a taste of life on a farm in the 1800s. The museum also showcases a quilt display and displays medical and military history.
The Nelson homestead, which was established in 1844, is the centerpiece of the museum. It is managed by the Mahaska County Historical Society, a nonprofit educational organization. There are historic buildings from across the county, including a house that was built in 1853 and a barn built in 1856. The museum has been designated as a National Historic Site by the U.S. Department of Interior.
The Nelson family lived in the log cabin for 10 years. By 1850, the family had grown to seven members. In that time, it would have been difficult to build a large home for the family, but the Nelsons did it anyway. They quarried the stones for the foundation and even built a kiln.
Oskaloosa City Park & Band Stand
The Oskaloosa City Park & Band stand is a public space in downtown Oskaloosa, Iowa. It is an octagonal structure that measures twenty-four feet wide by nineteen feet tall. It is constructed of iron and concrete. It was last renovated in the early twentieth century. During that time, it underwent major landscaping. Today, the park is home to 46 deciduous trees, with one conifer. Of these, 17 are over 50 inches tall. In the 1970/71 renovation, an understory canopy of 50-inch-tall trees was planted. In the 1960s, Dutch elm disease decimated many of the city’s elm trees. The understory trees are evenly distributed throughout the park.
The Oskaloosa City Park & Band stand has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. It is a nationally significant site consisting of five contributing objects and one contributing site. The bandstand was built in 1912 and was designed by Des Moines architect Frank E. Wetherell, who was originally from Oskaloosa.