Iowa January 06, 2018
There’s A Little-Known, Fascinating Train Park In Iowa And You’ll Want To Visit
Have you heard the story of Kate Shelley, an Irish-American from Boone who risked her life to save dozens of people? She quickly became a local legend for her heroic actions. Now you can learn a little bit about this Iowan hero and visit a park created in her honor while enjoying a lot of new train history knowledge.
Iowan Kate Shelley started off life in Ireland, but immigrated to America in 1865.
Young Kate was a farm girl living on a modest homestead in the town of Boone, Iowa, when one act of bravery would put her in the history books forever.
On July 6, 1881, a fierce storm rolled in to the Des Moines River Valley. A trestle near Honey Creek had given out, and Kate knew there was another train due for that route. With all lines of communication wiped out by the storm, 17 year old Kate Shelley crawled across one of the most enormous trestle bridges in the country while the weather raged around her.
Luckily, Kate made it across the bridge, and by the time she got to the Mongoina’s Chicago and Northwestern Depot, the train had already been stopped.
At once, Kate turned her efforts to rescue the men who had fallen into the river at the collapsed bridge. Two men who had fallen in were saved.
Now, there's a memorial park and railroad museum located in Boone, Iowa in her honor.
The museum is temporarily closed for renovations, but it should re-open better than ever!
It has always been a favorite place for local kids to visit.
When it re-opens, it will be by appointment only. Kids and adults will have the chance to see all sorts of railroad artifacts, and remnants of life in rural, railroad-era Iowa.
The park is the perfect place for a picnic, or to do a little exploring.
You'll find an old train depot here that's worth exploring, and it will take you back in time to the days when the railroad ruled everything.
You can enjoy a trip to the nearby Kate Shelley High Bridge, as well!
While the Des Moines River Bridge that Shelley crossed no longer exists, the rural road trip from Boone to the Kate Shelley High Bridge will take you over some passes that provide amazing views.
And when you get there, you can check out the views from the bottom, too.
Would you have been brave enough to cross the bridge in a thunderstorm?
You can find directions to the park (it’s a little hard to find!) from
Boone History Museum’s website. Be warned about visiting the Kate Shelley High Bridge at night, though – it’s known to be the most haunted bridge in the entire state.