ELDON, Iowa (AP) – The rural Iowa house that helped inspire the famous American Gothic painting is empty and could be up for rent.
The home in the southeast Iowa town of Eldon has had the same tenant for the past four years. But Monday marked Beth Howard’s last day in the house, the Des Moines Register reported.
“There should be a statute of limitations for how long one can live in a tourist attraction,” she told the newspaper Tuesday.
The 700-square-foot home was made famous by Grant Wood, a native Iowa artist who spotted the house while traveling through the area. He used it as the backdrop to his 1930 painting of a farmer holding a pitchfork next to his daughter.
The house, now owned by the State Historical Society of Iowa, was rented to Howard for just $250 a month. Officials reasoned it would help offset the tenant’s patience for dealing with curious tourists walking on the property and peeking inside.
Jerome Thompson, the society’s historic site administrator, said the group is weighing its options on what to do next. They may rent it out again or they may offer an artist-in-residence program. They may also allow the next-door visitors’ center, which is run by the city and county, to use it.
Eldon is located about 100 miles southeast of Des Moines.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com
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