Did you know that there are 30 local sites in Council Bluffs that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places? In this multipart blog series, we will take a deeper look at all of the unique local sites that have made it onto the National Register. In an upcoming blog, we will feature the Historic General Dodge House, which is the only site in Council Bluffs that is considered a National Historic Landmark.
This week we are highlighting the local sites that were added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s.
Address: 621 3rd Street
Added to the National Register of Historic Places: 8/13/1976
Located next door to the Historic General Dodge House, the August Beresheim House was built in 1899. August Beresheim and his family lived in this beautiful three-story home until the 1950s. After the family had moved out, the house served as a nursing home for a number of years as well as a dormitory for Iowa Western Community College students. The building was restored to its original condition in the late 20th century and is now owned by the City of Council Bluffs and is the orientation center for the Historic General Dodge House.
Address: 226 Pearl Street
Added to the National Register of Historic Places: 3/16/1972
The Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail was built in 1885 and was used as the county jail up until 1969. The design of the jail makes it unique and unlike many other jails of its time. The revolving “squirrel cage” jail was built to be safer for jailers and eliminated personal contact between themselves and the inmates. It was one of 18 jails that used the design patented by William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh but was the only three-story version ever built. The Council Bluffs Park Board purchased the property in 1971 to preserve the facilities. In 1977 the Historical Society sought to save the jail and owns and operates the facilities today.
3. Lysander Tulleys House
Address: 151 Park Ave.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places: 10/18/1979
After his service in the Civil War, Lysander Tulley moved to Council Bluffs, IA in 1875. Once settled, Tulley created a business specializing in agricultural loans servicing Council Bluffs, Sioux City, and Hastings, Nebraska. The house that he resided in is a 2.5 story late Victorian residence constructed by Wickham Bros, a local construction firm that also built the O.P. Wickham House. This house is a great example of the Victorian gothic style based on the use of steeply-pitched gables, a square tower, the use of narrow proportions and the pointed arch.
4. O.P. Wickham House
Address: 616 South 7th Street
Added to the National Register of Historic Places: 6/18/1979
The O.P. Wickham house was built in 1888 by Owen and James Wickham who owned and operated the Wickham Bros. construction firm. The Wickham Bros. dominated the construction industry in Council Bluffs from the 1860s to the 1930s due to their competence in the use of different materials. This house is an example of a large suburban residence built in the Queen Anne style, which is known for its reserved appearance that surprises you with touches of striking detail. One of the main breathtaking aspects of this home is the woodwork detail on the front porch which has remained almost perfectly preserved throughout time.
5. YMCA Building
Address: 628 1st Ave.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places: 6/27/1979
This YMCA Building was designed and erected by Frederic E. Cox of the Council Bluffs firm of Cox and Schoentgen in 1908. In 1931 a gymnasium and pool addition was designed by Jocheis Jensen which also included remodeling the attic into fourth-floor rooms. This building is known as an extremely individualistic interpretation of the Georgian and Federal Revival style that was popular in the early 20th century. In 1929 the Union Pacific Railroad purchased the building in an effort to keep the facilities open for the railroad men during the Great Depression years. The local YMCA took back ownership of the property in 1955.
For more information about how Council Bluffs’ history is UNlike anywhere else, visit the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County’s website. For more information on the National Register of Historic Places, visit the National Park Services' website.
National Register of Historic Places, August Beresheim House, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, National Register #76000802.
National Register of Historic Places, Pottawattamie County Jail, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, National Register #72000481.
National Register of Historic Places, Lysander Tulleys House, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, National Register #79000929.
National Register of Historic Places, O.P. Wickham House, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, National Register #79000930.
National Register of Historic Places, Y.M.C.A. Building, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, National Register #79000931.