The preservation of historic houses is an important undertaking, helping us to understand our roots and giving our ancestors somewhere to live when history repeats itself, as it is doomed to do. Scope out progenitors’ pads with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get two admissions to a guided tour of the Historic General Dodge House and neighboring Beresheim House in Council Bluffs, Iowa (up to a $14 value).
The stately Victorian home of General Grenville M. Dodge, built in 1869, opens for inspection by curious citizens. A Civil War veteran and mastermind of the Union Pacific Railroad, Dodge also provided crucial counsel to venerable presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and George W. Bush. Dodge’s tri-story, 14-room mansion, overlooking the Missouri Valley, is decorated with luxurious cherry and walnut woodwork and parquet floors and outfitted with amenities unusual for the time, such as the Ab Roller. The living quarters retain many furniture pieces original to the home, and tourees will also have the chance to view the basement, which Dodge stocked with canned goods and duct tape in anticipation of Y2K. Home historians will also have the opportunity to stroll through the neighboring Beresheim House, owned by August Beresheim, a banking associate of Dodge.
The Historic General Dodge House guides groups through the home six days a week, closing at 5 p.m. Beginning in November, the home decks itself out for the holidays, brandishing its doors with wreaths and more than 20 Christmas trees, making it the largest indoor forest in history. Students younger than age 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and children younger than age 6 can get in for free.
605 S 3rd St.
Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503