Dyersville

Iowa

Dyersville is known as the Toy Capital of the World, because of the three toy companies in town. We also have two toy shows a year: The National Farm Toy Show held in November is the largest farm toy show in the world, bringing about 10-12,000 people to the community. The Summer Farm Toy Show, held in June, brings about 8,000 people to town.

Dyersville’s population is just over 4,000. It was founded in 1847 by a merchant named James Dyer, a 27-year-old man who came from England. He remained in Dyersville until his death at the age of 44. As other Englishman moved on to larger cities, German farmers and immigrants filled up the town and it is now a predominantly German community.

We have a new walking trail system, swimming pool, tennis courts, and many organized recreational activities. Heritage Trail connects Dyersville to Dubuque for walking, biking, or snowmobiling.

When James Dyer settled in Dyersville, the only Catholic church in the area was in New Vienna. In 1887, the residents of Dyersville began to build their own Catholic church. It was such a grand structure that in 1956 it was designated a Basilica, meaning it is the Pope’s Church. Thus, if the Pope ever visited Iowa, he would come to Dyersville. One of 77 Basilicas in the U.S., St. Francis Xavier Basilica is the only church in a prairie setting. The grand structure has seating capacity of 1,200, with five masses every weekend, including a Spanish mass on Sunday.

The Dyer-Botsford house was built in 1850, as the original home of James Dyer, who later sold it to Abel Botsford. For 108 years, Botsfords and their descendents lived in the house, which was purchased by the Dyersville Area Historical Society in 1988.

Established in 1986, the National Farm Toy Museum is a major attraction. It features two floors of toys and exhibits, including tractors, implements, trucks, toy manufacturing information and a large pedal tractor display.