Salisbury House & Gardens – Des Moines, Iowa - Atlas Obscura

Salisbury House & Gardens

Architectural elements and building materials for this house were transported from Salisbury, England.  

55
118

While this may seem like a typical historic house museum at first glance, this 1920s estate features architectural elements that date as far back as the 14th century. Inside, visitors will find a mummified rat that died of the bubonic plague, an astounding rock collection that was built into the walls of the home, and six acres of native Iowa woodland. 

Constructed in the 1920s, the Salisbury House was built by Carl and Edith Weeks to be a family home for them and their four boys. They based the property off of one they saw in England, and salvaged architectural pieces from the Salisbury area. 

They collected antique furniture and artwork to match the aesthetic of their new home, as well as a modern art collection that they sourced from artist friends such as Joseph Stella, Lillian Genth, and Leon Kroll. Most of the Weeks family’s art and furniture has stayed with the property over the years and comprises the majority of the museum’s collection. 

Know Before You Go

Salisbury House isn't just a museum, it's also a venue. The estate can be rented out for weddings, dinners, parties, and more. This does mean the museum closes regularly during the summer for events, so check the website for availability before visiting. 


The house is decorated for the holidays for the entire month of December. The property includes formal English gardens that are open to the public for picnics and lazy afternoons any time the museum is open. 

Community Contributors
Added by

December 14, 2022

Make an Edit Add Photos
In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web