Silos and Smokestacks

I had the opportunity to visit with Candy Steed from Silos and Smokestacks to discuss what is happening with the heritage area in Iowa. Candy is the Program and Partnership director and is located in Waterloo, Iowa.

Silos and Smokestacks is a National Heritage Area, where the story of American agriculture comes to life. This National Heritage Area is recognized by Congress for it’s unique contribution to the American experience. It’s not a national park area, they have boundaries and own the property. We can’t put a fence around a living landscape! Silos and Smokestacks covers the NE corner of the state, from I-80 on the South and I-35 on the West. They partner with 105 sites and attractions ranging from dairy farms and museums to vineyards to tractor assembly pants. Silos and Smokestacks is here to tell the story of American agriculture.
Currently there are 40 National Heritage areas in the United States. Some of the criteria include: recognized around a critical moment in history, conserve and share a large-scale natural resource, celebrate a cultural resource such as an history canal or roadway, or explore a common theme or industry. A few of these heritage areas include: Civil War National Heritage Area in Tennessee, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor in Illinois and Motor Cities National Heritage Area in Detroit. You can find all the areas at
Silos and Smokestacks is committed to telling the past story and the present story of agriculture. Candy answered a few questions about how they do that.
What kind of a budget do you have to work with?
Federally around $700,000 and we have 8 staff members.
Tell me about the grant programs you have. Bus grants for schools are available again starting in August. We require a matching 25% from the school and we grant up to $350. We also have intern grants. The process for this will be on our site by December 1. Applications must be received by February 1 and we will announce the grants in March. A lot of the interns work over the summer and the grant is up to $3000 (30% from site and we give 70% ).
What will these interns do? Most are college interns and your site will work with them to create a position that will better their experience and education in some way. It could be something like: catalog data, get info about a project and then make it available for teachers to use at a later date, we will work with you on developing a program. You must find your own intern and Silos and Smokestacks will help with the process. It can be up to a 14 week program .
You mentioned general grants? Of course! General grants can be used for things like: exhibits, temporary exhibits, events, education program, marketing projects . We’d like you to use the general grant to help tell a story that has not been told before! Applications are due by June 1, the match is 50% and 25% has to be cash and 25% can be in kind hours. The grant itself is for up to $10,000 .
Where can we get more information? Start out at Visit the Franklin County Historical Society (or any location listed on the website)and pick up a visitors guide.
What do you have to say to Franklin county Iowa? What is really important is that you have a unique heritage here and it is worth preserving and caring for. It is something to be very proud of. You should use it your advantage the best you can – capitalize on that to add a little cash back into the community’s coffers. Tourism does add value to your community. The community can help support this – stay true to preserving your heritage and make sure it is relevant to the community today.
Also, thank you for your time today and for showing me the updates at the Harriman Nielsen House. You have done remarkable work over there! We are proud to work with Franklin County Historical Museum, Franklin County Fair and Grandpa’s Farm as designated partners within Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.