State Historic Preservation Office receives $45,300 Preserve America grant
Funding supports "Hollywood in the Heartland" research project

For immediate release April 11, 2008


Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – The State Historic Preservation Office has received a $45,300 Preserve America grant that will help support a project documenting Iowa’s historical connections to Hollywood and the movie industry.

Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett, along with Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chairman John L. Nau, III, announced 43 Preserve America grants in 25 states totaling $2.9 million. The Preserve America grant program, which began in 2006, is administered by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service in partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The competitive matching grants fund Preserve America Communities, State Historic Preservation Offices and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to support their preservation efforts through heritage tourism, education and historic preservation planning.

Scarlett made the announcement this week on behalf of First Lady Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of Preserve America. Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our nation’s heritage. Scarlett and Nau co-chair the Preserve America initiative.

The SHPO project, “Hollywood in the Heartland,” is a multi-year, multi-phase project focusing primarily on properties built for or associated with the movies before 1970. The project is being conducted in partnership with the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance (IHPA), Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Tourism Office.

The Preserve America grant will allow SHPO staff to engage the public in Iowa’s movie legacy through several heritage tourism activities designed to stimulate interest in this aspect of the state’s history. The project will celebrate Iowa’s relationship with the movie industry through an examination of the people and places related to the development and consumption of motion pictures.

SHPO staff members have been talking with people who have been bringing movies to Iowa communities for decades, including Robert Fridley, who has been a fixture in Iowa’s film industry since the 1930s. But they are also looking for more information about the locations of movies filmed in the state over the last 100 years.

For example, most Iowans may remember “Field of Dreams,” “Twister” and “The Bridges of Madison County” were filmed in the state, but they may not know “Penitentiary” was shot in Iowa in 1935 or that “Cold Turkey” brought Hollywood to Greenfield in 1968.

People with information about Iowans, movie houses and properties associated with the film industry are encouraged to visit and click on “Historic Preservation” to fill out a survey form. Results will be available next year on IHPA’s Web site at Contact SHPO’s Paula Mohr at or 515-281-6826 for more information.

More information about Preserve America, including a complete list of grant recipients, criteria and application forms for various initiative programs, can be found at


 Preserve America is a White House initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

 The State Historical Society of Iowa is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. SHSI is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Visit or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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