The Cook Heritage Farm Estate, 1848 is located on 200 acres of prairie and timber in the Driftless Region of Northeast Iowa. The land has been in the family for 173 years, passed on from generation to generation. The estate property borders the Turkey River and is nestled between rolling farmland and gentle bluffs leading to the mighty Mississippi. The Driftless Area of the upper American Midwest was never glaciated and is characterized by caves and cave systems, disappearing streams, blind valleys, underground streams, sinkholes, springs, and cold streams.
In 1848, Henry and Mary Cook traveled from Bavaria to America for a better life. Their journey on American soil began in New Orleans where they traveled up the Mississippi River to McGregor, Iowa. They bought their initial 40 acres through the land grant office in McGregor, hooked up a team of oxen and traveled 30 miles overland to settle in Clayton County. To stake a claim of ownership for this land they built a sod hut and lived there for two years to satisfy the land requirements. Although their beginning was meager, their pioneer spirits were abundant with adventure and a willingness to endure hardships for the potential the land promised. Their pioneer spirits demonstrated a deep commitment to and stewardship for the land that eventually produced a rich legacy handed down for generations. Harsh winters and physical labor were offset by the beauty of the area. Henry and Mary and their descendants eventually found a harmony with one another. The Turkey River provided sustenance and its raging springtime surge demonstrated the tenuous balance between man and nature. A give and take that remains to this day.
There are several options for accommodations on the acreage: each site will be added. The estate is also open to be full booked by one party - which can accommodate up to 40 over night guests including campers, RV's, house and guest lodge sites.
The Country Home: This six-bedroom, two story home was built in 1917. Ninety percent of the design, woodwork, and stained glass are original. The home was plumbed and wired for electricity during the original build. A home generator was placed in the basement to supply battery energy. Radiators were the primary source of heat for every room. The lower level is still heated by radiant heat, and supplemented during fall and winter nights with a kitchen gas fireplace.
The Crib Guest Lodge was once the main “corn crib” on the property, used for years to dry and store corn harvested from the farms’ fields. The Crib was renovated into a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a living room, and a sleeping loft. For two years the owners used this as their summer lodging while the restoration work continued in the main house. The sleeping loft has 4 queen beds. Enjoy your favorite morning beverage on the east patio deck and watch the sun rise over the prairie flower fields. Star gazing off the second-floor deck is a must.
The Bin Bar adjacent to the Crib was also used for corn storage but abandoned years ago. In 2017, the bin was moved to the east side of the Crib and over the past few years has been fashioned into a gathering spot for late night storytelling and night caps.
The Gazebo Fire Pit is built upon the site of the original log house ~ circa 1850. The log house had a water cistern, a conical shaped underground vessel, used to catch fresh rainwater. The water was pumped into the log house using a pitcher pump. The cistern remains and is located underneath the landscape on the west of the Gazebo.
The Barn was the first structure built on the property. So, the story goes, “first take care of the livestock and horses to assure human survival”. The Barn is need of restoration. For your safety, the barn is off limits.
6 RV campsites are available: 3 with sewer and electrical hook-ups and
3 electrical only
Individual and group tent camping is also available on the beach and on the acreage. Porta potty available.
Surrounding area: Iowa cities including Decorah, Clermont, Elgin, Elkader, and Prairie Du Chen, Wisconsin are within driving distance. Each city boasts its own fun for day and night entertainment including local artisan wares, antiquing, hiking, biking, golfing, water recreation, breweries, and dining pleasures. The Cook Heritage Farm Estate sits between Elgin and Elkader and you can easily follow the ‘river road’ to get between the two destinations.The cabin has lofted sleeping quarters with 4 queen beds, two bathrooms and one shower. There is an outdoor shower if you desire.
You will have access to a covered concrete deck, an open air structure (bin bar) and outdoor fire ring. Your cabin will face the sunrise with a beautiful view across the prairie towards the river. Walking trails and prairie fields and access to the Turkey River water and beach are available to you. If your party wants to expand, there are 3 RV camp sites (electrical, sewer, and water hook up) next to the cabin.
Clayton, Iowa, United StatesTraditional, ancestral territory of oθaakiiwaki‧hina‧ki (Sauk) & Meškwahki·aša·hina (Fox), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, and Wahpeton First Nations according to To respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking