Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Winneshiek County, Iowa
Spillville was named for Joseph Spielman (also spelled Spillman) who founded the community. The very first to arrive were German, but they were followed mostly by those from Bohemia and Czechoslovakia. Even today, there is a old world feel to the community.
Anton Dvorak spent time here finishing his famous New World Symphony. The Czech composer came for the summer of 1893, along with his family, to relieve his homesickness for his homeland. For three months, he and his family lived above what is now the Bily Clocks Museum. He spent time among the resident, mostly Czech immigrants, while he worked on his masterpiece. He began some work on his American String Quartett and other of his prominent pieces while here. He also played the St. Wenceslaus Organ at times during the summer. Read this article about his stay in Spillville. Learn more about Dvorak and his life, including the time spent in Spillville.
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Bily Brothers Clock Museum/Antonin Dvorak Exhibit
323 S. Main St.
P.O. Box 258 Spillville, Iowa 52168
Open: 8:30-5 May-Oct.; April and Nov 10-4 weekends, or by appointment.
The Bily (Bee-lee) brothers, Frank and Joseph, began carving wooden clocks here in the cold wintertime. One of their most famous was the American Pioneer Clock depicting 57 events in US history. It is over eight feet tall and weighs more than 500 pounds. They donated their entire collection to the town in 1947 with the stipulation that it would never be sold. Good information on the museum, the Bily brothers and Antonin Dvorak may be found on this page
St. Wenceslaus Church
This historic church and cemetery were built in 1860. The church features the 1876 Pfeffer organ that Dvorak played regularly during the summer of 1893. The church was remodeled in 1956 and then was restored in 1985. The congregation was formed in the 1850's, and the church was named after the patron saint of Bohemia.
Spillville is located in the Central time Zone.