Until 170 years ago, Iowa was covered almost entirely by tall grass prairie and woodlands. Today, only .01% of Iowa landscape remains prairie, and most woodlands have been cleared for agricultural purposes. Harvest Preserve Foundation is committed to the restoration of native flora, fauna and woodlands that once covered Iowa. Our first prairie was planted in 2016; it is a 6-acre field west of Scott Blvd.
Trails through the woods on the property are maintained and invasive species are being controlled.
Land Ownership History
Beginning about twelve thousand years ago, this land was home and hunting grounds for various indigenous groups. In 1682, French explorers staked a claim of ownership, although the area was then home to the Iowa, Ottawa, and Sioux Indian tribes. In 1803, the land was acquired from France by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The ensuing U.S. policies and violence related to westward expansion soon pushed other tribes into the area, including the Sauk and Mesquakie. Legal non-native settlement in the territory began in 1833. Within twenty years, all remaining Indian lands in Iowa were ceded to the United States government.
Iowa City was founded in 1839 and designated in 1846 as the first state capital when Iowa entered the Union. During this period, the U.S. government sold territory lands in 40-acre parcels to settlers and speculators. The legal abstracts we now hold begin with these government sales and trace more than one hundred fifty years of active buying and selling of these parcels.
In the 1930s, the land between Rochester Avenue and what later became I-80 was divided into two pieces, forming the Smith Family farm on the southern half and the Krall Family farm on the northern half. The land was annexed into Iowa City in the early 1980s.
Involvement of Monument Farms
For two centuries, this land was treated as a commodity. Some of the owners loved and respected the land, while others treated it strictly as a financial investment. A few never even saw the property. The emergence of Monument Farms marks the final stage of this period of commodity trading. In 2001, Monument Farms acquired the Hunter-Krall farm, fronting I-80, and the Smith farm, fronting Rochester. In October 2002, the new Scott Boulevard extension opened from Rochester to Dodge Street.
Involvement of Harvest Preserve Foundation, Inc.
In October, 2009, Douglas and Linda Paul, owners of Monument Farms, transferred 100.64 areas (then valued at over $4,000,000) to Harvest Preserve Foundation, a 501(c)(3). This property, known as Harvest Preserve, is bordered on north and east by Scott Boulevard, and on the south by a planned residential development. The west border of Harvest Preserve abuts Tamarack Ridge, separated from Harvest by a row of trees and a gravel lane. Since 2009, Harvest Preserve has been governed by a Board of Directors. It is also protected from future development by a conservation easement with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.