Historic Downtown Tour
June 9, 2012
Start Tour at 9:00 at the Port of Burlington Welcome Center where your Step-on guide will meet you. The beautiful Mississippi River provides a scenic backdrop for this historic building. Dedicated in 1928 as the Municipal Docks, the building enabled barges to be loaded with coal by means of an overhead conveyer. The Port of Burlington is now home to a State of Iowa Welcome Center. Restrooms, information on statewide attractions, souvenirs, and a video of local attractions combined with historic displays to make this an ideal point to begin or end your trip to Burlington.
9:15 a.m. Drive through Heritage Hill National Historic District. Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, Heritage Hill lines the northern sector of downtown. Nearly 160 structures reflect many architectural periods and styles. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River from Mosquito Park. Named for its size, this park provides a bluff-top look at the massive river.
9:50 a.m. Then make your next stop at the Phelps House Museum, which was home to three generations of the Phelps family. Located at the top of Snake Alley, this Victorian house features furnishings dating from 1774. Take some time viewing priceless antiques and everyday items the family used over the years.
10:40 a.m. Snake Alley, perhaps Burlington’s most famous landmark, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not dubbed Snake Alley the “crookedest street in the world.” The Alley consists of five half curves and two-quarter curves and drops 58 feet over a distance of 275 feet. The brave are invited to walk down, the motor coach will pick up walkers at the bottom of the hill.
11:00 a.m. Step back in time as you visit the NEW Des Moines County Heritage Center. Visitors will experience what life was like in the 19th Century and learn more about the importance of river and rail in Southeast Iowa. The 20th Century gallery showcases changing exhibits, and the Bart Howard Room highlights the talents of local musicians.