CLINTON — The Clinton History Club has partnered with the Clinton Municipal Transit Administration to offer a free historic bus tour of Clinton and Camanche on June 20.

Passengers will meet at the First Street parking lot across from Happy Joe’s. Departure time is 8:30 a.m. sharp with boarding on two MTA buses. A few limited seats are still available to the first callers. Contact Gregg Obren at Gobren74@live.com or (563) 503-8345 or John Rowland at jrow242@gmail.com or (563) 593-1101.

The History Club is offering the bus tour as an exciting opportunity to showcase some of the wonderful historic sites and historic buildings that are available in the Clinton and Camanche areas. The Clinton area offers visitors, tourists, and locals great places to explore, with a rich and exciting history.

The Van Allen building in downtown Clinton, designed by Louis Sullivan, is one example that is uniquely recognized as one of the few National Historic Landmarks in Iowa. Another hidden jewel is the WW1 Veterans Memorial, which is listed in the Smithsonian Art Catalogue. The Veterans Memorial has also been designated by the WW1 Centennial Commission as a “National WW1 Centennial Memorial.”

The Veterans Memorial was designed by Lorado Taft and the sculptor of record was Leonard Crunelle, two of Americas prominent sculptors. The memorial and surrounding area will undergo extensive repairs and restoration in August.

Meanwhile, some local historic sites of significance are clearly on the endangered list, such as the Clinton Railroad Bridge and the former C&NW Depot. The bus trip will be an excellent opportunity for photos of these unique structures. Passengers are encouraged to bring their cell phones and cameras.

The requested viewing list of historic properties and sites to visit in the Clinton, Camanche, and Lyons area is growing. At this time, we cannot accommodate all of the requests. Since Lyons has so much history to offer, we have decided to plan a separate special bus trip for Lyons later this summer.

Currently, there are 17 historic properties in Clinton listed on the National Historic Register. Technically, one property is listed as 3 1/2 miles outside the city limits. Clinton County has a total of of 30 properties listed on the National Historic Register. Camanche has the Horace Anthony House built in 1852 that is listed on the National Historic Register.

The U.S. Park Service website has a wealth of information on all of these historic properties. The Anthony House is just one example that is listed on the National Archives Catalogue website. There are 46 pages of narrative descriptions, drawings, and photos providing the historical information and background on just this one amazing property.

Brief comments show Anthony was a prominent Camanche business person. The Anthony home is considered transitional, with a predominate Italianate influence. Many of the home's decorative details are characteristic of the Greek revival style. The Anthony House was an important “Stop on the Underground Railroad,” providing food, shelter, and safety to runaway slaves in the pre-Civil War era.

Other local properties on the National Historic Register, such as the George Curtis Mansion, are open to the public. The History Club has scheduled a 9 a.m. tour of this historic home on July 18; mark your calendar to attend.

For more information on the History Club or to schedule a presentation, contact Obren or Rowland. The public and new members are always welcome to attend meetings.