Whether you’re a fisherman, hiker, camper, boating enthusiast or if you want to enjoy a ballgame, the many parks here will delight you. You can lie in the shade or get a tan, attend a celebration or relax in quiet solitude. There is also great fishing in our lakes and farm ponds.
Bloomfield City Park is the perfect place to hold a family reunion picnic and let the kids swing and slide. The park has recently seen the addition of two new playground structures. Visitors can splash in the adjacent swimming pool, work out on the basketball courts, walk the newly-constructed trail through the park, or relax and watch squirrels play in the oak trees.
Drakesville Park is the site of several celebrations, most notably the Davis County Old Soldiers and Settlers Reunion. The park is home to a Mormon cabin/museum and a shelter house.
Floris Park is located on Main Street and is where Floris Flag Day is held. The Floris Park is also home to a veterans’ monument, flags from all branches of the military, and two statues honoring veterans.
Lake Fisher Park borders a 100-acre lake west of Bloomfield where fishing is at its best. The state record bass was caught here in 1984. Shelter houses, a campground, softball field, Frisbee golf course, wildlife and beautiful scenery make this a place for all to enjoy.
McGowen Recreation Area offers hunting, fishing, picnicking, hiking opportunities, rental cabins, a playground and a campground. The area is located on the east edge of Bloomfield
Mutchler Community Center: Located in Bloomfield, the center provides numerous recreational and fitness opportunities. There is a modern weight room, a gymnasium with two basketball courts, a batting cage, a 1/16th mile walking and jogging track, and large meeting room.
Pulaski Park features the old Pulaski railroad depot, an old freight wagon and vintage telephone switchboard equipment. It is also the site of the annual Pulaski Corn Show.
Troy Park is ideal for a picnic when you’re visiting the Troy Academy.
West Grove Park offers visitors plenty of shade, outdoor grills, playground and picnicking.
Lake Wapello State Park is located in a picturesque setting with a 287-acre lake and 1,150 acres of land laced with hiking trails, camping sites, cabins and picnic areas. The lake has a swimming beach, boat ramps, docks and boat rentals with up to six-hp motors allowed. For information, contact the park officer at 641-722-3371.
Iowa Welcome Center
The Welcome Center is a 1910 Sears and Roebuck home that was moved to its current location. The center is located on Highway 63, three blocks north of the Bloomfield Square. The center opened on March 28, 1988, as the Pilot Project Welcome Center in Iowa. Staffed by volunteers, the center is a source for specific information for tourists. Locally handcrafted arts and crafts are offered for sale on a consignment basis.
Davis County is a patchwork of grain fields, wooded streams, rolling hills and lush, green pastures. When driving on curvy, country roads in northwest Davis County, you’ll probably find yourself on Wheeler’s Ridge, where a panoramic view is breathtaking. Northeast Davis County is also a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers of all ages.
Between 1846 and 1860, more than 80,000 Mormons traveled through Davis County on their westward trek to Utah. During those years, 3,000 wagons and 30,000 head of livestock passed through this area. Today the ruts left by their wagons are still visible at certain points along the trail.
At Mormon campsites, some stayed long enough to plant gardens for the next group to harvest. Others dug wells and built log cabins for local farmers.
Mormon records show babies were born and the dead were buried along the trail here. Retrace the Mormons’ historic journey through Davis County. The Mormon Trail is marked with placards.
Davis County has a large and thriving Amish community that makes up a little less than 20 percent of the population. The traditional religious beliefs of the Amish people stress a strong family life. Currently there are close to 300 households in Davis County with seventeen schools attended by students through eighth grade.
The Amish of Davis County are very entrepreneurial and operate approximately 100 businesses from small country stores to large, industrial-type businesses. Networking with each other and Amish communities in other parts of the country contribute to their success as does a strong work ethic. The Amish are known for their woodworking skills. In Davis County, these skills are reflected in furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and mill work as well as in construction components such as trusses, pallets, windows, and box-spring frames. Construction crews complete jobs large and small in a wide area.
Since 2007 the Southern Iowa Produce Auction has become a thriving business that operates from April through October and attracts buyers such as Hy-Vee from Des Moines and outlets in Kansas City. Retail businesses, owners of farmers’ markets and area restaurants flock to the auction to buy bedding plants and hanging baskets in the spring and all manner of produce in the summer, especially tomatoes. In the fall, pumpkins, gourds, and mums are big sellers. Many families have greenhouses where they start bedding plants, create beautiful hanging baskets, and especially, cultivate tomatoes. Amish retail businesses are open six days a week except religious holidays.
Many Amish families live on small farms, but only a few currently make their living entirely from farming. In certain areas, you will see Belgium and Percheron horses in pastures or pulling farm equipment. Several stables raise and train horses, especially Black Morgans and Percherons. You may see pastures of goats as numerous goat dairies supply milk to cheese factories. As you drive through rural areas in Davis County, you will see well-kept homes, small and large businesses, large gardens, and farm animals grazing in fields. A map of Amish businesses is available at the Welcome Center and in several Amish businesses.
The Amish do not believe in being photographed, but most allow photos of their animals and buggies. Please ask permission.
Davis County Courthouse
This unique courthouse of French Renaissance architecture catches the eye of all who travel through Bloomfield. Many stop to take pictures of it to remember its distinctive look with mansard roof and graceful cupola. With four-foot thick foundation and 16-inch walls, the 42-room structure cost less than $50,000 to build in 1877. In the basement, the former jail has been turned into an assessor’s office featuring bars. Upstairs, original seats and benches are still being used in the spacious courtroom. Visitors are welcome.
Main Street Community
Bloomfield has been designated a Main Street Community since 1995. The Main Street designation covers Bloomfield’s business district in and around the Bloomfield Square, which has the Davis County Courthouse as its centerpiece. Many of the buildings on the square underwent façade renovation in 2011 and 2012, thanks to more than $1 million in state and federal grants.
An upper story housing project resulted in 16 new apartments around the square in 2015.
Mars Hill Church
Built in 1857, Mars Hill was the oldest log church still in use in the nation until arsonists burned it to the ground in recent years. Located northwest of Floris on the Wapello-Davis County line, it was constructed of hand-hewn logs fitted together with wooden pegs. The church was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The church has been rebuilt to its former state using the same construction techniques used when the church was originally built.
Historical Museum Complex
Built in the 1860s, the Dr. William Findley House is the site of the Davis County Historical Museum and a place where many unusual and interesting items from the past can be viewed by appointment. Also on the grounds is a cabin, which the Mormons built of hand-hewn logs in 1848. Of special interest to children is an old-fashioned, one-room school. It has been restored and equipped with the furnishings of the era. A livery barn on the grounds houses many artifacts and sports a huge mural depicting the 1864 guerilla raid on Davis County. A beautiful rural church built in 1902 rests stately among the complex which now completes a representation of the three institutions which have helped to make Davis County great—the home, the school and church.
The Troy Academy
This “seminary of learning” was one of the first schools of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. Construction of the wood-sided building was completed in 1854. Tuition rates for the first students at the primary level were $2.50 for the school year. The building has been restored to its original schoolroom style. Tours are give
Barn quilts are popular in Davis County. The Davis County Tourism Corporation’s Development and Promotion Committee has overseen the creation and erection of several barn quilts in recent years assisted with funding from the Davis County Community Foundation and local hotel/motel taxes.
Numerous individuals are also installing quilts on barns, garages, houses, and other buildings.
A brochure for a self-guided barn quilt tour is available at the Welcome Center
Designated as a National Landmark, this home was built by General James B. Weaver in 1866. General Weaver was twice a presidential candidate. The home’s most distinctive feature is the one-over-one, center-pointed sash windows topped by denticulate brick hoodmolds.