Kalsow Prairie/Weigert Farmstead

Prairie History

Kalsow Prairie

This state preserve is an 8,000 year old remnant black-soil tallgrass prairie that was never plowed. The virgin prairie has many small potholes which are remnants of the last glaciers. Hydrophytes or water plants grow in these wet spots, providing diversity. There are no established trails, but the terrain is easy to walk. Be sure to notice the Mima mounds, disturbed areas which range from 6 to72 feet in diameter. While their origin is uncertain, they provide a micro-environment for prairie species.

Look for a variety of butterflies as well as birds like the Common Yellowthroat, Dickcissel, Bobolink, and Eastern Meadowlark. Leopard and cricket frogs can be heard in the potholes. Smooth green snakes and northern prairie skinks have also been found here. At least 20 species of mammals live here, including the short-tailed shrew and jumping mouse.

Kalsow Prairie is believed to be the center of the 74 million year old Manson impact structure. This structure was formed when a 12-trillion ton meteorite 1.5 miles in diameter struck the earth, igniting most of Iowa and killing most animal life within a 650 mile “death ring” from Denver to Detroit. Today it lies invisible 100 to 300 feet beneath the glacial deposits. The meteorite may accept credit for Manson’s soft water and Gilmore City’s limestone quarries but was not responsible for the great dinosaur extinction that happened about 65 million years ago.

Wiegert Farmstead

Leaving Kalsow Prairie, if you travel north 1.5 miles on 280th Ave. and turn west on 615 Street, you will approach a farmstead that the 20th Century passed by. Harry Wiegert was the third generation in his family to call this place home. The farm is also home to 30 acres of prairie that escaped the plow, as they cut the prairie hay to feed their Belgian draft horses and beef cattle. The 120 year old house still has no electricity or indoor plumbing. The stately barn with its cupola and weather vane that sheltered Harry’s horses now wears a barn quilt. A well-kept windmill stands ready to pump water for livestock, while the aroma of charred wood hangs in the blackened smokehouse. Until his death in 1980, Wiegert drew water with a hand pump, heated with wood from the grove, and used kerosene lanterns for light. He lived the way he grew up, thereby leaving an historical and natural treasure for many to enjoy.

Since 1981, the Pocahontas County Conservation Board and Pocahontas County Historical Society have worked together to purchase, restore, and preserve the farmstead and prairie as a living museum honoring our rich family and farming heritage. Family members, friends, and neighbors have all shared willingly of their time and talents to preserve this spot where you can step back in time.

Driving Directions and Other Information

  • This area is located 2.5 miles SE of Palmer or 4 miles NW of Manson.
  • 2.5 miles SE of Palmer
  • Wiegert Homestead 27575 615th Street
  • Wiegert Prairie 615th Street
  • GPS location N 42 35.735 W 094 34.121
  • Kalsow Prairie State Preserve 280th Avenue
  • GPS location N 42 43.631 W 094 54.543
  • Wiegert Prairie and Homestead, 37 acres-Pocahontas County Conservation Board
  • Kalsow State Prairie Preserve, 160 acres- Iowa DNR
  • Hiking, Wildflowers, Bird Watching, Hunting

Educational Activity

  • To be added
Visit Kalsow Prairie/Weigert Farmstead via Google Map by Clicking HERE!

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Take a short visit to Kalsow Prairie/Weigert Farmstead via the video below!

Wild Categories Photo Gallery