When Tassel Ridge pours at tastings, we get lots of questions about where we are located and specifically, about where Leighton is located. Tassel Ridge Winery is located on 220th street just off State Highway 163. When people drive southeast from Des Moines, they will find 200th Street just past mile marker 53.
Leighton, itself, is about two miles west of the Winery on 220th Street and it had a population of 162 in the 2010 census. We like to say that the Winery is located in “rural Leighton!”
Leighton has an interesting history. Shortly after February 8, 1865, B.F. and Marietta Roberts filed a plat for a town where Leighton is presently located. The Roberts had purchased a 40-acre tract of land from Ann Fleck just the year before. By the end of the year, most of the lots had been sold to William Leighton and John Carver, who were brothers-in-law. These two men were from Keokuk and were major investors in the railroad that was being constructed from Keokuk to Des Moines. At that time, construction of the railroad was working its way up from Eddyville to Pella and a shipping point between the two towns was deemed to be beneficial. This was how the town of Leighton was conceived and born.
The railroad that created the town of Leighton has been abandoned but the little town has thrived with a vibrant business district, well-maintained houses and streets, two churches, and an active ballpark. One of the more unique organizations in Leighton is a group of volunteers who assemble hand-powered, self-propelled carts for those with disabilities in countries far away from Leighton. This activity is located in the old elementary school house.
Leighton goes all-out in celebrating the Fourth of July. They organize and sponsor the most elaborate fireworks in Southeast Iowa, host a parade, offer games for the kids, ball games for the adults, and a meal provided by the Leighton Lions. This is small town Americana at its best, partly because everything is organized by volunteers.
Come to Leighton and help celebrate, then drop by Tassel Ridge Winery for some more celebration, and of course, the fireworks!