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Red Oak founder Col. Alfred Hebard built this attractive home in 1874 and lived here until his death in 1896. Hebard established the town in the mid-1850s when he was conducting survey work for the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, which wanted to build a new line across Iowa. A textbook example of Italianate architecture, it is two-stories tall and features a projecting roof overhang supported by double brackets, quoins at the wall corners, segmental arched windows, and horizontal elliptical attic windows. The house, which remains a private residence, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The founder of Red Oak, Col. Alfred Hebard, built this house elegant Italianate home in 1874. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Sky, Plant, Window, Building

Alfred Hebard was born on May 10, 1810 in Windham, Connecticut. Information about his childhood is not readily available but as a young man he attended Yale where he studied civil engineering. After graduating in 1832, he taught for a few years before moving to a farm in what is now Iowa in 1837 (at the time it was part of the Wisconsin Territory). In 1840 he was elected to the territorial legislature and served four terms. During that time he played a significant role in developing the Iowa territory's laws (Iowa became a territory in 1838 and a state in 1846). Hebard was elected to the First General Assembly of the State in 1846 and served in the regular and extra sessions.

Hebard spent five arduous weeks surveying the railroad line for the the Burlington & Missouri Railroad. He placed a stake in the ground every 500 feet along a route 18 miles wide over terrain with hills and valleys. He was impressed by the hills that overlooked the Nishnabotna River and decided to purchase the tract of land that would become Red Oak. He also vowed to build a house on the ridge where he stood when he first arrived in the area. However, it wasn't until 1874 that he fulfilled this pledge. During the Civil War he built railroad bridges in the South for the Union Army. He later served in the state senate between 1875 and 1879.

Hebard died in New London, Connecticut in 1896. The family owned the house until 1925 at which point it was acquired by the First Congregational Church, which used the house as a parsonage until 1932. Over time additions were built in the rear of the house including a carriage house and stable (the stable was removed by 1927).

Adams, Jacky et al. "Burlington Northern Depot." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. April 29, 1999.

"Alfred Hebard House." Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association. Accessed January 25, 2022.

Jacobsen, James E. "Alfred Hebard House." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. April 12, 1984.

"Senator Alfred Hebard." The Iowa Legislature. Accessed January 25, 2022.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Jim Roberts, via Wikimedia Commons: