Iowa Falls on the Iowa River

Its Wednesday and we decided to get up early today after 2 days of doing basically nothing and do something.  The park has scheduled some activities for us if we choose.  One of them was a boat trip north in Iowa Falls on the Iowa River in September.  We signed up, but was to late to pay.  The max amount allowed has already paid for the trip.  It includes bus trip, boat ride, and lunch after.  We are on the waiting list if someone cancels.  But that’s ok……We were slow so we lost out.   So we decided to drive up today and check it out.

Iowa Falls is a little over 60 miles north on Highway 65.  It was an overcast day, so that part was a little disappointing, but that’s ok.  We got to town around noon, and drove up and down the streets searching for the Chamber of Commerce.  It wasn’t so successful this time.  Finally we drove on the scenic drive and rounded a corner, and their it was


…..The Boat Club……with the ………Scenic City Empress ……..docked in the waters of the beautiful scenic Iowa River.  This river winds through the center of Iowa Falls and we found at least 3 bridges within town to cross.  We parked and got out the check out the boat.  It holds at least 50 or more.   The bottom level is enclosed and has AC.  The top is an open deck.  Great for viewing on a nice day.  They also have concert charters which would be so much fun.  Generally they only do charters for groups or special events.  It has been refurbished by the Boat Club with the help of the towns people.  Their was only 1 car in the parking lot and she was in the office.  In we went for a visit.  She was very nice and helped us with information.  She said their was a possibility that she would talk to Gary from Adventureland about a second boat, but I don’t think that will happen.  Its too close to the date.  She had a map of the town and river.  We noticed a Swinging Bridge that you can walk and cross the river.  She also gave us some great info on restaurants for lunch.  We left and headed to the Swinging Bridge.


This was taken from the edge of the river as we drove from the Boat Club.  You can also see the Falls.  This is not the real falls, they dried up years back we were told.  This is artificially made.


We arrived and started to walk across.  We actually parked on the residential side and walked over to the side where it opened up into the park.  It was a very well constructed suspension bridge, originally constructed in 1897.  It has been rebuilt at least 2 times since.


It didn’t really move much as we walked across.  We got to the other side and checked out the park and of course the restrooms…lol….heading back, I decided to walk off the sidewalk over to the trees and bushes.  I wanted to get this picture.  Its more of a side view.  In doing this I walked in weeds.  Well I spent the next 15 minutes picking off little sticky prickly things from my clothes.  lol  They weren’t the to painful ones as they were still young.  I’m sure on maturing they would have been sharp and very pointy.


We walked back to the truck taking one last picture of the falls….This river has with time, worn its bed through the rocks to make these beautiful cliffs.  Time to find a restaurant. Back to town and found the one that was recommended.

wp-1472084664401.jpg  The Princess Café.

Upon walking in, we were so surprised.  It was not only a restaurant serving sandwiches and pizza, but an old fashioned Sweet Shop.


This was our first view. This is a 25 ft. soda fountain made from the finest Italian marble.  It is thought to be the largest remaining soda fountain in the world.  On the back wall is 2 large slabs of matching granite.  Just amazing.  I turned around and their was the old fashioned Juke Box.


It is an old Wurlitzer….I checked out the records.  Now this will take you back in time….Beach BoysSurfer Girl, Little Deuce Coupe, California Girls, Good VibrationsChuck BerryRoll Over Beethoven, MaybellineLittle RichardLong Tall Sally, Slippin and Slidden.  These were just a few I seen.


We went to the back and they seated us.  It had all the old booths.  A row on each side of the store and the center row, side by side divided.  So impressive.  Beautiful woods with some carvings.


The Menu

They had quite a few specials to choose from as well as a good menu.  We both chose sandwiches and also a small pizza to go.  The food was good.  We decided we needed to try a small piece of pizza while it was still fresh.  Ohhhhhh yum…..It was so good.  It was a thin crust, and ever so flaky and crisp.  Perfect, and not very greasy.  Definitely a Pizza I would order again.  I read in the menu a bit of the history.  Cousins originally from Greece opened the Princess in November of 1915.  A brother moved to town and bought the original Sweet Shop and the family members combined the businesses into one.  It became known as Princess Café and Sweet Shop.  Christmas morning 1934, the building burnt to the ground.  One year later it was rebuilt opening on July 1.  The cost to remodel was $30,000.  A whole lot of money during depression time.  The way it appears today is how it appeared back then.  Everything has been preserved for all these years.  The woodwork  is made of the finest domestic and imported woods.  The booths are African Mahogany.  The hard Terrazzo floors were poured by hand and then ground to a smooth surface.


Notice the mirrors in each booth.  All original, now starting to loose their coating on the back side.  But it also makes them look so old, but yet so perfect.  These are the special carvings that you see on the booths.  The top wood trim is the same pattern carried through out the shop.  All the wood is so pristine and perfect.  No carvings from kids through the years.  When I was in school, we had a small soda shop.  We all constantly carved in the booth walls.  How did these booths and this whole shop survive all these years to be in perfect shape.   Just amazing.


This is the other side of the soda fountain.  It was the Sweet Shop side.  It again has used all the same woods and designs.  It is now where they have the cash register, the souvenir  t-shirts, school information and memorabilia.


As I was looking around at the old pictures on the wall, I came across this.  They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, dated October 15, 1966.  This is well deserved. I also read their were other factors about the building that was important.  A special glass imported from Italy and the construction of the outside of the building.  It was a great representation of Deco Art.


This is another view of the Soda Fountain.  As we were leaving, I did try to talk to the waitress about the building.  She said it was rumored that Disney was their once trying to buy the soda fountain, but she didn’t know if it was true.  Finally we left after we had filled our stomachs.  Well lets say stuffed…….It was another great day of adventure.  Finding gems to discover in small town America……I do believe as we travel the interstates this day and age, we fly by so many gems of history through out America.  It pays to stop at some of these towns.  Find the Chamber of Commerce or just drive around

……You just never know what you will find…….


2 thoughts on “Iowa Falls on the Iowa River

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