Benton County Iowa Attractions:
The Benton County Courthouse – Vinton
The first permanent courthouse was begun on July 13, 1856 with the laying of the cornerstone. This building was officially dedicated at a grand ball on December 23, 1856. The present courthouse was begun in 1905, and it was completed in 1906. The elaborate, three-story stone structure was constructed at a cost of $150,000. It has a 112-foot high tower that contains a clock and 1,500-pound bell.
Tara Hills Country Club – Van Horne — 319-228-8771
Reborn from an old barn, the spectacular clubhouse swings with company outings, wedding receptions and reunions. The Loft is perfect fro meetings and special parties. Everywhere you look there’s a magnificent window view. The public is always welcome.
Wildcat Golf Course – Shellsburg — 319-436-4653
Nine challenging holes! New driving range! Pro shop, clubhouse, banquet facility, full service bar and grill. The only 18-hole golf course in Benton County!
Youngville Cafe – Hwy 218 & Hwy 30 – 319-223-5289
This 1930’s Cafe – the last of its kind on the historic Lincoln Highway – features fine food and gifts, tourism information about local and state sites, and displays highlighting the history of the Lincoln Highway. Farmers Market is June-October.
Benton County Speedway – Vinton — 319-472-4603 (Information line only)
The Benton County Speedway hosts IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars, IMCA Northern SportMods, IMCA Hobby Stocks and Micro Mods every sunday evening from April through August. IMCA Late Models also run during the Late Model Sunday Series. This was the first track to race IMCA Modifieds in 1979. Today the IMCA Modified division races at over 150 tracks across the United States. More information can be found on the track’s Facebook page.
Harvest of Walls (historic walking tour) – Vinton – 319-472-3955
In the fall of 2000, the Wall dogs, a group of over 70 artists from all over the US brought our history to life by painting eight murals. These murals capture the pride that Iowans have in agriculture and in their communities. The Vinton mural titles are: Shop Vinton, First Train to Vinton, Vinton Hybrid, Play Ball! Baseball in Benton County, Benton County Fair, A Rural Country Christmas in Benton County, Entertainment, Sweet Corn Day Festival and Minne Estema (painted in 1995).
The Depot – Vinton — 319-472-5939
Benton County Historical Society
This passenger station was built in 1900. The lower five feet of the walls is limestone; the upper portion is brick. The floor is marble tile; the woodwork is white oak. The platform, of 30,000 bricks was re-laid in 1991.
The Ray House – Vinton — 319-472-2991
This three-story Queen Anne mansion has six coal-burning fireplaces that are all different in design and wood. The house and carriage house were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The Horridge House – Vinton — 319-442-4574
This house is the location of the Benton County Historical Society’s Archives and Museum. The Genealogy Department is housed here. I was built in the 1860’s. The house is of brick believed to be of the local brickyards of the era. Inside you will find tin walls and ceiling in the kitchen, French pier mirror in the parlor and a Romanesque sculptural relief which was brought back from Italy.
Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS) – Vinton – 319-472-5221 ext 1104
In 1962, the school program was moved to Vinton. Mary Ingalls, sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, lived and studied at the school (enrolling in 1881) for a number of years. She would graduate at the age of twenty-four with a class of eight.
Palace Theater – Vinton — 319-472-9958
The last picture show at the old Palace rolled onto the screen in 1972. This downtown building would be home to a teen center, bakery, pawn shop and a workout center before renovations and the return of movies to the screen November 1999.
King’s Theater- Belle Plaine — 319-434-6025
The King is located in the downtown section of Belle Plaine on 12th Street and Highway 212. It occupies the main portion of a three story red brick building with the entrance in the middle. The King has a large size marquee and a two story vertical. It is a single screen showing first run attractions.
Iowa Baseball Museum of Norway — 319-227-2044
Iowa Baseball Museum of Norway tells the story of how baseball started in Norway and culminated in 20 state championships plus many college, semi pro, and major/minor league players. Historical baseball items, photographs, and awards are displayed with the centerpiece being the twenty state championship trophies. A small meeting room with many local scrapbooks and family history is included. An indoor and outdoor mural is featured and a third mural is planned. Our teen artist won the Herbert Hoover Presidential library & Museum award for her work. Our building was constructed in 1905 as a bank and built by a baseball player of that era. The museum is a non profit developed and ran totally by local volunteers.