Rooted within the rolling hills of Audubon County and steeped in household farming historical past, Taylor Hill Lodge has served as a welcoming gathering house, peaceable hideaway and personal retreat for the Manatt household since 2002.
Charles Taylor (Chuck) Manatt grew up in a white clapboard home on Taylor Hill Farm, 4 miles north of city, now affectionately referred to as Homeplace, the place Taylor Hill Lodge is situated. Chuck was solidly a “farm boy,” an Eagle Scout, Four-H member, and chief of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). There have been a number of constructions on the farm whereas Chuck was rising up, however the one which stood out probably the most was the traditional turn-of-the-century English crimson barn. He served three generations, starting with Chuck’s grandfather, Charlie Taylor. Chuck’s father, William “Worth” Manatt, farmed and managed Homeplace, elevating some dairy cows and rising crops in full view of the barn the place pigs took root in tons round him. The dairy enterprise has lengthy since closed, however the primary barn was constructed to final.
Chuck’s future spouse, Kathleen Klinkefus, grew up within the metropolis. Her father, John Klinkefus, labored as a county assessor and later as proprietor of the cattle public sale enterprise. After graduating from Audubon Excessive College class of 1954, Chuck and Kathy left Audubon to attend Iowa State Faculty (now College), marrying in late 1957 and graduating in 1958. They went to dwell in Virginia throughout the service. Chuck’s navy.
They then moved to Washington, DC throughout John Kennedy’s profitable presidential marketing campaign in 1960. Concurrently, Chuck earned his legislation diploma and Kathy labored as a trainer. In 1962 they moved to Los Angeles with their younger daughter, Michele: Chuck made a profession as a lawyer and banker there, quickly founding the legislation agency of Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips. The household grew when his two sons, Tim and Dan, have been born. Chuck was energetic in California state politics, then nationwide Democratic politics culminating in his election as chairman of the Democratic Nationwide Committee in 1981, which introduced them again to Washington. Chuck’s dad and mom retired from farming and finally moved to town, however the Taylor Hill Farm stayed within the household the entire time.
From wherever they lived, Chuck and Kathy, together with their kids, returned to go to dwelling, household and lots of pals in the neighborhood nearly each summer time. In harvest season, they’d convey pals with them to take pleasure in lovely western Iowa and hunt pheasants.
Within the late 1990s, they thought of constructing a century farmhouse lodging the place extra folks may take pleasure in each serenity and hospitality. In the meantime, Chuck was searching for a inventive method to save his grandfather’s barn that may additionally profit the neighborhood. Combining the 2 needs, the Manatts, their farming companions Donna and Ted Bauer, together with household pal and native contractor Tom Testroet, started renovating the barn into a contemporary mattress and breakfast in early 2001, eager to additionally keep their traditional Midwestern attraction.
Inside a yr, within the spring of 2002, the barn was reworked into the Taylor Hill Lodge, appropriately named for Grandpa Taylor and its location on the primary massive hill north of Audubon. The Lodge in the present day seems to be a lot the identical from the surface because it did within the early 20th century. Nevertheless, the inside can be fairly a shock for the unique technology that used it. The place as soon as pigs rooted within the straw, now company calm down on leather-based sofas in entrance of a comfortable hearth and flat-screen TV. It was extraordinarily essential to the Manatts that the unique pitched roof stay a part of the seen structure of the Lodge. Additionally they saved the hay fork.
Native artist Clint Hansen designed and manufactured his stained glass window depicting fields of corn, a pheasant and a golden Labrador retriever owned by good household pal Louie Lauritsen. Fittingly, the Lodge grew to become an annual gathering place for pals of the Manatt household to hunt every October. These hunts grew to become an affair that highlighted the perfect of the Audubon neighborhood for out-of-town company: native eating places on the town, Darrell’s in Hamlin, and scrumptious pastries from famed Iowa pastry chef Dianna Sheehy rounded out the festivities.
Open year-round, Taylor Hill Lodge presents six bedrooms, 4 full baths, and a family-sized eating and front room, full with an extra-long wood kitchen desk that is a pure gathering place. Outdoors to the east is a patio the place company can sip their morning espresso whereas watching the dawn and surrounding fields, or gaze on the stars with a chilly beer in hand. The lodge’s administration was headed by Donna Bauer from 2002 to 2018, and has been expanded by Ann Brinkman since 2019. The Lodge has grown alongside Audubon’s community-led redevelopment in recent times.
The hostel is nice for gatherings of household and pals, in addition to solo vacationers who’re all the time welcome. Over time, the Manatts have had the consideration of internet hosting dozens of native couples’ weddings, Wheeler reunions, quilting teams from throughout Iowa, and Christmas household gatherings at Homeplace.
This yr, Taylor Hill Lodge and the Manatts invite Audubon and surrounding communities to rejoice the Lodge’s 20 years: be a part of us on Sunday, June 12 from 1-Three pm for our anniversary get together! Everyone seems to be welcome. Go to www.thlodge.com for extra info.
Taylor Hill Lodge is situated at 1614 Hwy. 71 in Audubon.