The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

A Glimpse into Bily Clocks

On Friday, we headed to Spillville IA to Bily Clocks (pronounced beelee). The Bily Brothers, Frank and Joseph, were born and raised on a farm located between Ridgeway and Spillville Iowa. There carving started when they were young but their father did not approve although their mother supported their artistic efforts.

They were farmers and carpenters so they carved as a hobby during the long winter days and evenings while still working and maintaining their farm. In 1915 and 1916, they built the Apostle Clock where the 12 apostles appear on the hour.

They carved their masterpiece, The American Pioneer History Clock, between 1923 and 1927. A memorial clock to Charles Lindbergh was carved in 1928. They used wood from their farm and around the world. One interesting thing to remember is that the Bily Brothers never left the Spillville area and yet their masterpieces reflect art from around the world. They were extremely well read and diligent researchers.  No pictures are allowed while touring the museum but I found these pictures on the Internet so you can see how magnificent the clocks really are.

The clocks were moved to a building on Main Street in Spillville in 1946. In addition to the clocks, these items were on display in buildings behind the museum.

Early farm machinerys.

How about this for a portable jail?

There is another cabin on display as well.


In addition to the Bily Clocks, the museum also houses items from Antonin Dvorak, a world famous musician and composer. Dvorak was hired as director of the New York Conservatory of Music. After a year, he needed a break and came with his family to spend the summer of 1893 in Spillville after he heard about the village from a resident. While in Spillville, he composed at least one widely known quartette....the American Quartette.

The St Wenceslaus Church was formed in 1850 and the church was completed in 1860. Additions were added in 1869 and 1870. In 1876, a pipe organ was installed, the first one in the county. Dr. Antonin Dvorak played this organ daily during his stay in Spillville.

On the way back to Forest City, we stopped at a festival in Protivin. We had some great shredded pork sandwiches but we missed out on the homemade kolaches which were all sold out.

A further drive led us past this cute little house in someone's front yard.

We came across other art work in our travels as well.

This is where you will find Spillvill in Iowa along with some other interesting little towns. You sometimes have to go out of your way to see interesting things as you travel.

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