Two buildings in a historical recreation of an 1870’s town were damaged in what’s being called a suspicious fire this weekend at Living History Farms in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale. Farms communications director, Jennie Deerr, says the fire was reported in the general store and drug store of the 1875 town called Walnut Hill.
Deerr says there was some structural damage to both buildings, along with smoke and heat damage to many of the artifacts. She says they’re still trying to determine the dollar amount of damage. Deerr says Urbandale firefighters call the fire "suspicious," but haven’t yet determined a cause. The town allows visitors to go back in time and see what life was like in the late 1800’s.
Deerr says the Greteman’s General Store was actually built in 1887 in Willey, Iowa and moved to the farms in 1978. The Schafer Drug Store was built in 1995 using authentic plans from the 1870’s. Deer says two tractor carts were also broken into and suffered minor damage. Deerr says the historic buildings can be repaired, but will be out of commission the rest of this year.
Deerr says all the other exhibits, including the working farms will be open for the rest of the season. Living History Farms is open daily nine to five through Labor Day, and Wednesday to Sunday through October 21 after Labor Day.