TRAILS IN INDEPENDENCE

Downtown Tour
Makes a nice downtown tour for returning ‘class  reunions’ or other group tours.

Begin at Wapsipinicon Main St. Bridge (2 groups=one each side of street)  Need two historians or tour guides.  One takes each group.  Walk up street to ‘bank corners’ and then cross street and back down to bridge.  Then to awaiting tour guide at Wapsipinicon Mill for additional tour.  (takes around 2 hours)

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The Heritage Trail
a/k/a “Historical Hiking Trail”, sponsored by the Buchanan County Historical Society, winding the way around Independence locating historical spots and brief descriptions.  Brochures available at Independence Area Chamber of Commerce, Wapsipinicon Mill and several downtown merchants.  Watch for the signs!

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The Liberty Trail - 2001
1.5 MILE TRAIL ON THE FORMER Rock Island R.R. tracks.  Starts at 1st St. West and West Elementary to the Mental Health Institute.  Comes out on 20th Ave. Southwest, south of Cornerstone Foursquare Church.  Maintained by civic groups and volunteers.  Wild flowers and prairie grass.

Liberty Trail provides outdoor recreational use, enjoyment of scenic silence, historic and natural beauty for trail users. Many use the trail without realizing the land beneath their feet has many stories to tell.

Liberty Street - 1854
Liberty STREET marked the outskirts of the western limit of the village of New Haven (now Independence). It intersected at the north end with a street named Independence. Stage coaches traveled this road to Waterloo and Sturgis Falls (now Cedar Falls). The village of New Haven became part of Independence by an act of the General Assembly of Iowa on Jan. 25, 1857.

The street named Independence ended at the New Haven Mill (now Wapsipinicon Mill) becoming Main Street across the bridge E. to the village of Independence.

The Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and Minnesota (the north-south railroad) bought Liberty Street from the city of Independence in the 1870's. This railroad later sold and in 1876 reorganized under the name of Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and Northern Railroad. The rail track became the "Postville Branch" coming from Oelwein, Hazleton, across the Wapsipinicon River to Independence, then on to Rowley, Cedar Rapids and Chicago.

American Trotter Trail
History behind the name "American Trotter Trail":

In the late 1880's and early 1890's, Independence, Iowa was a nationally-known horse racing center. It was sometimes referred to as the "Lexington of the North". This came about as a result of the financial success of Charles W. Williams. Williams purchased two mares in 1885, each of which within a year gave birth to a stallion. These two stallions, named Axtell and Allerton, went on to set world trotting records. Williams' earnings from these stallions enabled him to publish a racing newspaper titled, "The American Trotter". He additionally constructed a kite-shaped race track on the west end of Independence, on a large section of land called Rush Park.

Today, the primary location of Williams' race track is owned by the school district. The school's American Trotter Trail intersects the original site of the Williams' race track.

River Walk Parks
River Walk Parks emcompasses the Old Mill, Brimmer Park, Veteran's, Teachers, and Bathing Beach Parks, plus 37 additional acres of new green space as a result of a FEMA flood buy-out program. Efforts to restore this area into usable recreation areas and a band shelter have now become a part of this nostalgic river scene.

Independence Tree Tour
A WALK OF TREES in Independence with a wide selection of trees based on size, unique features and diversity.  Map available at Munson Public Library, Independence Area Chamber of Commerce, Wapsipinicon Mill and several downtown merchants.  Map is divided into two sections both starting and ending at the Public Library.  Originally done as a Master Gardener Project.  Please respect the privacy and property of all residents.

Wapsipinicon River Water Trail
The Conservation Board has long promoted Buchanan County's natural resources gems, and this effort was given an important boost recently whan a grant was awarded to develop a Water Trail on the Wapsipinicon River.

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