John Wayne's Birthplace
Excerpts from Roadchick B:
We worked hard to fit John Wayne's birthplace into our Iowa tour. We came close to it on Day 1, but the museum was closed and there were no more tours for the day, so we figured it would be a wasted stop in Winterset, Iowa just to look around the grounds.
Thanks to our long touring day the day before, we had time to stop in Winterset on our way back to the airport. We'd discovered that John Wayne's birthplace was the most popular tourist destination in Iowa so there was no way the Roadchix could miss the tour. We pulled into town a bit early and had a little time to wander around the small town square and visit the town visitor center which included John Wayne and Bridges of Madison County loot. By the time we sauntered back to the birthplace and attached museum, a small crowd had assembled for the FIRST tour of the day. Usually the first tour is a good one to hit since the groups are smaller, but this was already living up to its "most popular tourist attraction" moniker. We were, by far, the youngest people in attendance.
At tour time, we were herded over to the small birthplace home. We entered through a small kitchen into the first of two rooms stuffed to the rafters with collectibles and photos of "the Duke." John was born "Marion Robert Morrison" a 13 pound first child to Clyde and Mary Morrison. Ouch. He grew to be an imposing man of 6'4" who smoked FIVE packs of cigarettes a day and starred in many movies, the memorabilia of which is on display in the birthplace home including the eye patch from True Grit (which actually has mesh in the center so he could see through it). The best part of the collection was all the photographs of celebrities who were friends with John Wayne and have visited the birthplace. There was almost too much to see. . . Luckily, plans are underway for an expanded museum to better arrange and display the artifacts.
The tour was brief, but very informative. We headed back to the entrance/gift shop to stock up on John Wayne souvenirs (there were plenty to be found). The John Wayne birthplace is a must-see on an Iowa tour. It was a perfect last-stop for Roadchix 2007!