Immigrants to the United States in the 1800’s who would want to pursue their trade as Stonemasons would want to settle in an area that would have an abundance of exposed limestone. The Western Settlement Society headquartered in Cincinnati, OH offered lots in Guttenberg, Iowa in the mid 1800’s. Because the majority of immigrants that settled in Clayton County, Iowa were German the exposed limestone and steep bluffs would have reminded them of the areas along their native Rhine River. Therefore this area of northeast Iowa would have had a great appeal to these immigrant settlers. Based on the census of 1856 there were 76 stone masons living in Clayton County and 47 lived in Jefferson Township which is where the city of Guttenberg is platted along the Mississippi River.
In 2012, members of the Clayton County Historic Preservation Commission explored and photographed stone structures throughout the county. Because there are in excess of 200 stone structures we invite all who have an architectural interest to come and explore Clayton County Iowa, an area in the Midwest with an abundance of stone masonry examples of craftsmanship from the German immigrant settlers.