Our city has a treasure trove of off-the-beaten path places to go. That’s why we’re shining a light on some of the best hidden gems in Council Bluffs. No, we’re not talking the really obvious choices, like the casinos or the historic General Dodge House. Those Council Bluffs hot spots get plenty of recognition, which is why we’re focusing on places that you may have heard about (or not) and haven’t yet visited. Why? Because we want you to get out there and experience these hidden treasures for yourself!
A little home with a big history, the Bregant House was the humble abode of Jean and Inez Bregant – perfectly proportioned “little people” (Jean was 46 inches tall, Inez was 42 inches) who met while performing in a vaudeville show at Coney Island, New York. Custom built in 1912, the simple one-bedroom Craftsman bungalow is situated so far back on the lot that passersby are likely to miss it. In fact, the house is located so close to both of the neighboring houses that the eaves would literally touch if the houses were the same height. Grab some friends and take a mini roadtrip to see this double-take-worthy sight for yourself.
Okay, so you've probably heard about the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. But museum officials feel there's one sliver of history in particular inside that always seems to be overlooked. An authentic piece from one of the most important moments in American transportation history has been on display at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum since it opened its doors in 2003: a ceremonial golden spike from the 1869 completion of the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah. One of just three in the world, take the opportunity to see this relic from a pivotal moment in history on your next visit.
Rather than pay for a conventional, expensive jail in 1885, technology offered a cheap solution for Council Bluffs: a "human rotary" that could be staffed by a single guard with a gun. One of only three remaining revolving jails ever built and the only three-story jail of its kind in existence, Squirrel Cage Jail's unique design is unlikely to be duplicated again. Between the horrible din of its rotating drum and the risk of starvation if the turntable gears jammed too long, the jail was declared "unfit for human habitation" by 1969. To this day, the signatures and dates of many of its infamous prisoners remain scratched into the jail cell walls. As if that isn’t creepy enough, rumor has it that the building is haunted. Stop by for a walk-in tour of this one-of-a-kind structure – if you dare. Didn’t see your favorite Council Bluffs hidden gems on our list? Tell us about the Council Bluffs spots you love that few people know about!