Historic Garst

Whiterock Conservancy
Coon Rapids, IA
Completion date
August 2018

The Garst Farmhouse was a stopping point for Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 visit, and now serves as the centerpiece of Whiterock Conservancy. RDG's assessment determined what repairs were needed for the house. The owner used this information for short term and long-term planning decisions. 

The unassuming white farmhouse at the center of Iowa's Garst Family Farmstead represents significant, pioneering agricultural and Cold War history. Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, the Farmstead is protected in perpetuity through the Garst family's Whiterock Conservancy. The Conservancy approached RDG in 2017, knowing the farmstead had multiple maintenance needs and asking for help to define the needed repairs and help prepare materials for grants and tax credits to fund the work. RDG evaluated and assessed the existing building, prioritized repairs, and developed construction documents focused on roof replacement, window and door repairs, wood trim repairs, and repainting the entire building. The Garst Farmstead was the site of an historic, much-publicized 1959 visit by Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, in the midst of the Cold War. The day brought thousands of reporters and spectators to the farmstead, creating a media frenzy that stopped traffic and all of life's normal daily activities for thousands of Iowans from Des Moines to Coon Rapids. Additionally, RDG was hired to implement the first phases of repairs. Construction drawings were prepared to have these necessary repairs completed. This unique house is now available for overnight rental by guests. 

Best Rural Project, Iowa Preservation at its Best Awards
Preservation Iowa