Bily Clock & Dvorak Museum
Excerpts from Roadchick K:
I really didn’t expect much out of this museum. This wasn’t a starred item on our “Must See Places in Iowa,” but it turned out that it most definitely should have been on our list.
The Bily brothers, Frank and Joseph, were two local farmers who began carving as children. All of the clocks in the museum were hand-carved by them through the winters of their life when the farm wasn’t consuming all of their time.
Their first clock is spectacular with intricate scrollwork and tiny precise details. They built clocks based on everything from the Apostles, to Charles Lindbergh to a recreation of the Little Brown Church (from the famous song and just down the road from them.) Every single clock they created is owned by the museum. They never sold or gave away any of the clocks, so the collection remains completely intact and completely priceless.
The tour of the museum is excellent as all of the clocks are still in working order. As the docent leads you around the museum each of the clocks is explained in detail and demonstrated. Also on display are the tools that the brothers used. Many of them they actually created themselves to do more in-depth work with their carvings.
The upstairs section of the tour covers Anton Dvorak’s stay in the town on Spillville. While working in New York City, Dvorak became lonely for his country and countrymen and learned about Spillville through a friend. Spillville was home to many of Czechs and Dvorak was able to come for a summer hiatus, make final corrections on his “New World Symphony” and enjoy the hospitality of his fellow countrymen.
This is definitely worth the detour as the town is delightfully picturesque and the museum is entrancing.