Hanover Historical Festival takes visitors back to turn of the 20th century

Friday, September 3, 2021
/Photos by Adam Dublinske

The Hanover Historical Society marked its 25th year with the celebration of the annual festival at the rural Alta site Sunday.

Malekís Fishermen polka band and the popular area band The Expressions performed for the family-friendly historical event, which shares a glimpse into the life and work of an earlier time in rural northwest Iowa.

The community of Hanover was founded by German settlers who came to this area in the late 1800ís, and early on, was an economic center for settlers.

The general store was the first business in the village built in 1890 and operated until 1968. In the days of the horse drawn carriage, the store provided access to basic goods and supplies needed by the pioneers. Things like grocery items, work clothes, nails, tools and school supplies could be purchased at the store.

Sundays were special to the community because they made homemade ice cream. Folks would come in after church and buy a quart or a pint to take home for Sunday dinner. This lasted into the í50s. Oftentimes the site was a social gathering space, housing postal service, with a room upstairs for card games.

The general store was restored and has old time groceries, household items, sewing supplies, and farm tools. Many of the display cases are original to the store. Stock items for the store were donated.

The blacksmith shop was owned by August Voss and built in the early 1900ís. All the work was done with fire and a hammer. He made his tools himself and also sold buggies and lumber wagons. It then served as an auto service station until the 1940s.

The corner house dates back to the 1930s and has been restored for exhibits. It also preserves period finished kitchen, parlor and sewing rooms.

A sawmill was added in 2006, powered by a vintage Woods Brothers steam engine to cut large logs into usable planks.

The Pioneer Barn was added to the village in 2005 and was built with recycled lumber. The barn has a hayloft with sliding door on a pulley system. It features stalls, a chicken coop and many tools used in the daily life of the pioneers.

The machine shed and the mill house was relocated to the site from another location. The machine shed is unique in that it has an upstairs for storage of equipment. A rope winch was used to move the machinery to the top floor. The restored mill house still has the pulleys, belts, wheels, and grinder used to grind the feed for the livestock.