Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) received authorization by Congress for another 15 years.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the National Heritage Area Act in a bipartisan vote of 326-95 as one of the last acts of the 117th Congress. The Senate passed the same bill unanimously days earlier. The National Heritage Area Act establishes criteria for the management and designation of National Heritage Areas (NHA) across the country and authorizes existing NHAs through 2037. Silos & Smokestacks, based in Waterloo, is one of 45 heritage areas that has been reauthorized. Silos & Smokestacks was established in 1996 and is the only NHA in Iowa. Local Silos & Smokestacks sites include Forest Grove School in Bettendorf, the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Bennington No. 4 School in Waterloo and Miss Effie’s Country Flowers & Garden Stuff in Donahue.

“We are thrilled with the passing of this legislation. It will allow Silos & Smokestacks to focus on supporting the sites and attractions that make up the heritage area,” said Cara Miller, executive director of Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area. “We no longer have to worry every couple of years whether we will exist or not.”  

President Ronald Reagan established the first National Heritage Areas in 1984. NHAs are lived-in spaces that often span large geographic areas that cross multiple jurisdictions, instead of enclosed parks. NHAs are administered by local coordinating groups and receive federal funding through the Department of Interior. They don’t impact the private property rights of existing landowners within or next to an NHA designation. The National Park Service (NPS) provides technical assistance and serves as a partner for NHAs. NHAs match every federal dollar they receive with an average of $5.50 in state, local and private contributions.

“The National Heritage Area Act is a testament to the tremendous work National Heritage Areas do within communities across America,” said Sara Capen, chair of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA). “It is a direct reflection of the determination and resilience that is not only the bedrock of National Heritage Areas but also the history of the places and people National Heritage Areas represent.” 

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area covers 21,000 square miles in 37 counties in northeast Iowa and has over 100 heritage area sites and attractions that tell the story of American farm life and agribusiness, past and present. To learn more and find other sites, click here. To learn more about National Heritage Areas, click here.