A magazine assignment took me to Bonaparte, and although the subject of the story wasn’t historic preservation, I was immediately captivated by the stunning architecture in this town of just over 400 people in southeastern Iowa.
One mansion followed another and another, leading to a scenic historic district along the riverfront.
Randy and Pamela Pittman were so struck by the architecture of one home that they uprooted themselves from New Mexico and moved to Iowa, a place they had never even visited before, to buy the historic mansion.
The seven-bedroom home was built in the 1860s to 1870s by a leading Bonaparte businessman, Robert Meek, whose family started the town’s mills.
With more than 4,000 square feet of living space, the home was in disrepair when the Pittmans purchased it, but they saw potential in its magnificent grand staircase, stained glass windows, hardwood floors and pocket doors.
Randy began with repairs to the roof, which had been leaking, but the two know much more remains to be done.
“It’s a work in progress,” Randy said.
Read about the history of Bonaparte in this piece by the Van Buren County Historical Society and see images of some of the grand homes of Bonaparte, as well as the Bonaparte Baptist Church and inside the Meek Mansion, below. (photos © Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan)
More about Bonaparte can be found on the town’s website.