The Lucas Farms Neighborhood Association, Friends of Historic Preservation, and Johnson County Historic Society have teamed up to coordinate a two-day event on Memorial Day weekend that will highlight and celebrate the neighborhood’s rich history.

Saturday, May 28
On Saturday, May 28 from 1 to 4 p.m., a “Tour de Farm” bike ride is scheduled with several historic stops throughout the course that feature exhibits or child-friendly activities. The ride kicks off at Faith United Church of Christ at 1609 Deforest Avenue, next to Mark Twain Elementary School. Two routes will be offered -- a shorter one for families with young children, and a longer four-mile route that will include additional historic stops. No registration is needed. Helmets are required, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Some of the historic points along the ride will include the Lucas show ring and old circus grounds, several historic Moffitt houses as well as stories of people who lived in them, Victory Gardens, Dead Man’s Cave, and the former Florence Street vineyard.

Sunday, May 29
The following day, Sunday, May 29, the second annual “Lucas Farms History Day” is scheduled, with events organized throughout the neighborhood from 1 to 5 p.m. Five separate activity sites are planned. Signage will be posted to guide visitors to interest points. Visitors may walk or bike to stops of interest, or take the free shuttle bus, provided by Iowa City Transit, to each stop from Mark Twain Elementary School. The stops and activities are listed below. There will be no charge for any of the events unless indicated.

Mark Twain School, 1355 Deforest Avenue

  • Vintage Car Show
  • Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) activities for families
  •  Welcome Station for Twain alumni
  • Shuttle bus hub (no charge for use of the shuttle)

Highland Avenue Park / Assembly of God Church, at Highland Avenue and Keokuk Street:

  • Bouncy house and other free activities for kids
  • Pony rides for $2 per person

Plum Grove Historic Site, 1030 Carroll Street:

The historic Plum Grove House officially opens for the season as part of the Lucas Farms History Day event. Plum Grove was the retirement residence of Gov. Robert Lucas and his wife, Friendly. Lucas was the first governor of the Territory of Iowa, from 1838 to 1841. In addition to the season opening of Plum Grove, this stop will entertain visitors with:

  • Historic reinactors, including Abraham Lincoln
  • Performances by the Liberty Band of Iowa 

For more information on Plum Grove events, contact or call 319-351-5738. 

Neighborhood Walking History and Garden:

Start the Walking History and Garden Tour at any of the tour stops, where maps and tour information will be provided. Approximately nine neighborhood gardens will be open, with historic stops along the way.

Friends of Historic Preservation Tour of Historic Homes:

Friends of Historic Preservation will offer a tour of historic homes on Summit Street, Kirkwood Avenue, Walnut Street, and Florence Street. Tickets are $10 per person and may be purchased at any of the featured homes. A complimentary wine-tasting is scheduled at a former neighborhood vineyard. For more information on the historic home tour, contact or 319-351-1875. 

For more information about the Lucas Farms neighborhood events, contact Judy Nyren at or 319-351-6913.



Date of publication

Friday, May 20, 2016