The Weaver House – 102 Weaver Road
The north side of Bloomfield is graced by the General James B. Weaver home. The age and architecture of the house may not be as significant as the fact that General Weaver built it and once lived there. That has led to the house being designated one of twenty-six “National Historic Landmarks” in the State of Iowa. It is currently being ran as a bed and breakfast.
General Weaver bought the land for the house about 1865 and it is believed that it was erected soon thereafter. The house is an inverted L-shaped, two-story, red brick structure with a single story rear ell. The most distinctive features of the dwelling are the one-over-one center-pointed sash windows in the Gothic style on the two-story portion. The main entrance to the house leads into a hallway. To the left, a room that served as a library fills the west end of the structure. To the right a large parlor extends some 30 feet through the full length of the north-south transverse. Behind the parlor are a modern kitchen, a small serving room and an added sun room. The entry hall stairs lead to the second floor where there are three bedrooms and a bath. Both stories of the home have undergone some alteration. Except for the parlor area, the original floor plan is intact. The 12-foot ceilings have been retained throughout the home.
James Baird Weaver was born in 1833 in Dayton, Ohio. The Weaver family moved to Davis County when James was 10. His father obtained a contract to carry mail to and from Fairfield. This job fell to James. When he was about 18 or 19 he was overtaken by “Gold Fever” and followed the trail to California with his brother-in-law, Hosea B. Horn, who while on the trip compiled a diary that became Horn’s Overland Guide to California and Oregon. This guide was used by many future travelers on their way west. After returning to Iowa he attended law school at Cincinnati College graduating in 1855. He entered into practice with his brother-in-law, Hosea B. Horn.
In 1861 there was a call for volunteers to serve in the Civil War, so he joined the 2nd Iowa Infantry. He was elected as a Lieutenant and after a short time was promoted to Major over the heads of older and more experienced lieutenants and captains. When the unit was in battle, James proved to be a courageous and tireless leader and brought his unit through, not unscathed, but achieving the goals set for that unit. He brought honor to them and their fallen comrades. At the end of his enlistment, he was promoted to Brigadier-General by President Johnson.
After returning to Bloomfield, he resumed his practice of law and became involved in politics. He was elected District Attorney in 1866 and was appointed Assessor of Internal Revenue. He was defeated in his bid for Governor of Iowa in 1875 but was elected to congress in 1878. He was nominated for President in 1880 by the Greenback party but was defeated. He was elected again to congress in 1884 and 1886 and was again nominated for President by the Populist Party in 1892 running a strong race garnering 20 electoral votes, but not nearly enough to be elected.
He stayed active, speaking and writing and satisfied his political bent by serving as Mayor of Colfax, Iowa for several years. He died of a heart attack February 6, 1912.
In recent decades, the home was open as a bed and breakfast. Currently, it is a private residence. Across highway 63 to the west of the home is Weaver Park that was part of the original site. You will see an Iowa Byways, interpretive sign that shares insights from the life of General Weaver. The sign is accessed from Washington Street.