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Get Locked Up In History.

It was the highest of high tech of the day: A 90,000 pound, three-story cell block that could be turned by one man with a hand crank. The jailer didn't walk to the cells; he brought them to him. Efficient and cost effective-- an entire jail could be controlled with just one man. But there were some problems.

Squirrel Cage jail from FB
Squirrel Cage jail Sheriff cars (1)
Jail graffitti #1
Squirrel Cage Jail from air
Cell in use (1)
Mrs. Bregant & model kitchen

Think Small.

Some called it "the doll house." Built specifically to accommodate the physical stature of its diminutive occupants, the fireplace mantle was to other people about waist-high. The china cabinet, light switches, doorknobs, windows, bathtub, thermostat and other features were also scaled down. The house at 517 Fourth Street in Council Bluffs was built for Jean and Inez Bregant, who were respectively 45 and 42 inches tall.

This Is Where it All Began.

President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order designating Council Bluffs as the eastern terminus of the transcontinental railroad in 1863 and nothing has been the same since. The significance of this on Omaha/Council Bluffs and all throughout the West almost can't be overstated; it changed everything. The Union Pacific Museum documents this with displays, artifacts and interpretive exhibits.

Union Pacific Mueum 2
Dodge House (1)

The General Slept Here.

If it wasn't for Grenville Dodge, Omaha and Council Bluffs would be different.  A whole lot different.  It was all about the railroads, and it is because of Dodge they came here to the extent they did.  By the late 1860′s Grenville M. Dodge was not only a nationally known and respected military general, railroad builder, and politician, he was one of the wealthiest citizens of Iowa.

Railroad Days RailsWest July 2014 (1)-1

Climb Aboard.

The country revolved around railroads and Council Bluffs had them. But the tale isn't just about steel rails and flanged wheels: it's about the creation of the West. Council Bluffs is where the east ended.

Black Angel in fall-1

The Black Angel.

She doesn't look like she's trying to kill you. So why do people think she is so creepy?  Maybe the angel is ashamed.  The Dodge family spent a fortune to have her made by Daniel Chester French, the most expensive sculptor in the country, but were so embarrassed by a scandal over her model they didn't even hold a public dedication.

Lincoln Monument 2 edit_edited-1

Stand Where Lincoln Stood.

August, 1859.  Abraham Lincoln climbed the tall hill to this spot.  He stood silent for a moment, then stretched his long arm out, pointed west and proclaimed, "That valley was made for railroads."  Four years later the first tracks were laid in what was the most monumental project ever attempted by mankind.

Grant Wood display PACE

Grant Wood Was Here.

Legendary painter Grant Wood's career didn't start with American Gothic.  He honed his skills right here in Council Bluffs.  His works are on permanent display in the gallery at PACE, 1001 South 6th Street.

Air Force Museum

Hang Out at the Hangar.

A P-51 Mustang "Gunfighter" and an AT-6 Texan as well as hundreds of airplanes and Air Force artifacts are home at the Great Plains Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum.  The museum is in a hangar at the Council Bluffs airport.



Wind down from your adventures with a relaxing visit to Prairie Crossing Winery, just a few minutes east of Council Bluffs in the Iowa Countryside. Prairie Crossing creates the custom-label wines for the Squirrel Cage Jail.

48 hours in CB