Tuesday we drove to Winterset to visit the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum. Wayne was born in the small four room house in 1907 and was named Marion Robert Morrison. He weighted thirteen pounds! Adjacent to the birthplace is the museum with original movie posters, wardrobes from his films, movie scripts, contracts, letters, artwork and sculptures.
Did you know John Wayne got his nickname “The Duke” from a dog? He had a dog named Duke and they were together so much they became known as “Little Duke” and “Big Duke”. Wayne from a Revolutionary War General he portrayed.
Winterset is located in Madison County, Iowa, the setting for Iowa novelist Robert Waller’s 1992 novel The Bridges of Madison County which was also made into a movie in 1995. Scenes for the movie were shot in Winterset and the town of Adel, Iowa. People still talk about seeing Clint Eastwood sitting at the lunch counter of the local restaurant! At one time Madison County had nineteen covered bridges and there are currently six remaining. The bridges are covered to preserve their large flooring timbers which are expensive to replace. We drove to the 1883 Roseman Covered Bridge, 107 feet in length and featured in the movie. It is the most popular of the covered bridges and is located far out in the county on a dusty gravel road.
Before leaving Winterset we also drove to Clark Tower in Winterset’s City Park. Erected in 1926, it is an unusual monument to the county’s first pioneer family by their descendants. Constructed of native limestone and 25 feet high, it made for an interesting drive up a very narrow one way road to the top of a hill to the monument. We climbed to the observation point of the tower but trees prevented a clear view of the Middle River valley below.
Next up: Nebraska!