In 1857, amidst rising tensions between Native Americans and new settlers, 13-year-old Abbie Gardner’s family was killed by men of the Dakota Indian nation. This tragedy became known as the Spirit Lake Massacre. Young Abbie was taken hostage by the Dakota band and released 84 days later. Decades after the massacre, in 1891, Abbie returned to Arnolds Park and purchased the cabin, operating it as one of Iowa’s earliest tourist attractions.
In an effort to improve the Abbie Gardner Sharp Cabin and the lessons and experiences it offers visitors, the State Historical Society of Iowa is conducting a public survey. Please consider taking the brief survey before October 31, 2022. We appreciate your input and ideas.