History

historyThe Sherrill Mount House is of local and statewide significance as one of a very small number of pre-Civil War era hotels surviving in the State of Iowa. It is a locally significant example of stone construction of the time and is one of the largest buildings of this material surviving in rural Dubuque County. The property associated with the building at time of construction covered over 40 acres in what would become the town center of Sherrill. The Sherrill Mount House was constructed in 1856 as a commercial structure astride the stagecoach route that traveled north along the Mississippi River. The Inn has 3 main stories, attic area and viewing cupola. The building was constructed of native limestone quarried approximately 2 miles away. These blocks were then transported by immigrants using wheelbarrows to the construction site.

A ramp of wood scaffolding was built to support the construction of the building, which allowed the workers to transport the stone to the top of the walls for placement. This ramp, built by hand, extended some 1000 feet to the north during construction and was removed after the structure was completed.

building_frontWhen the building was completed it housed a tavern, beer garden, restaurant and kitchen on the first floor, dance hall and family quarters on the second floor, and overnight rooms on the third floor. It would also serve the town of Sherrill as a post office and meeting hall. Except for the modernization of plumbing and mechanical systems and the lack of shutters along with modern aluminum window frames, the main structure retains its original appearance. The kitchen and washroom, also of native limestone construction, have been covered with steel siding in the recent past.

Due to the beer garden, tavern and dance hall on the second floor, the inn was the social center of the entire community for a significant period of time until its demise with the arrival of prohibition in 1919, at which time the building was first converted to a multi-family home.

The building dominates the center of the town of Sherrill and was the center of the town’s social life for its first 100 years of existence. It has been the home of many families since being converted to apartments and continues to be an example of buildings that have played a key role in the history of the region. It was placed on the Register of National Historic Places in the summer of 2002.