Iron Banks has a rich history. First populated by an ancient and mysterious group of people known as the Mound Builders, the land near present-day Columbus was later home to the Chickasaw Nation.
This area was claimed for France in 1673 by Father Jaques "Pere" Maquette, a French missionary and Louis Joliet from Quebec. They named it Les Riverages de Fer (Iron Banks) because they originally believed the color of the soil was due to the presence of iron ore. In 1818 the land was secured for the United States through a treaty with the Chickasaws by Andrew Jackson as part of the Jackson Purchase. Renamed Columbus (after Christopher Columbus) in 1820, the original town played an important role in the Civil War in 1861. Heavily fortified by General Polk of the Confederate army, the canons of Columbus helped to oust Grant's Union troops from Belmont, Missouri across the river.
The Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927, one of the most destructive river floods in the history of the United States, brought Francis Marion Rust to Columbus. Mr. Rust was in charge of the Red Cross relief efforts and with the aid of the Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and Red Cross appropriations of over $90,000, Mr. Rust helped to relocate the town to its current location one-half mile north and 140 feet above the river on 80 acres of land. It is thought to be the first time in history that an entire town was moved to a new location. Mr. Rust, captivated by the potential of this “new” Columbus, had great dreams for for the flourishing town. These included a picturesque park on the site of a Confederate fortification set against the bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. in 1934 the federal government accepted the area as a state park project, known today as the Columbus-Belmont State Park.
Mr. Rust built the grand Iron Banks Hotel in 1930. Originally owned by the Rusts and then the Muscovalleys until 2005, the building was bought by Jim Wright and a group of investors but eventually fell into disrepair. Hickman County native Joe Scott, who now lives in Texas, bought the house in 2011 and enlisting the help of his brothers completely refurbished the place to its current gorgeous condition. The Lodge opened in 2015 as the Iron Banks Lodge Bed and Breakfast, now simply Iron Banks Lodge.