FAQs

Please come see The Thoreau Center to ensure that it will meet your needs. Tours are by appointment only, so contact us at info@thethoreaucenter.com or 515-279-7312 for a tour. We are usually available any day of the week, including evenings and on the weekend.

Please contact us at info@thethoreaucenter.com or 515-279-7312 to book your event. We will email you a rental agreement for you to complete and return along with the rental fee and the damage/security deposit.

You may pay with cash or a check. We do not accept credits cards.

Your rental fee will be returned to you only if you cancel at least 30 days before your event. Your damage/security deposit will be returned to you only if you cancel at least 45 days before your event. One-half of your damage/security deposit will be returned to you if you cancel less than 45 days before your event.

You may provide your own food for your guests, or you may hire any caterer that you want. The Thoreau Center does not provide or charge for any food or drinks for your event.

We do not sell or charge you for alcoholic beverages. You may bring in your own beer and wine, which will greatly reduce the cost of your event. Beer and wine, or containers to serve them in, may not be sold on the property. Alcoholic beverages other than beer and wine are not allowed on the property. You and your guests must strictly follow all state and city alcohol laws. You may not allow people at your event to become intoxicated, and you may not serve beer or wine to minors or intoxicated persons. You may not allow people at your event to consume alcoholic beverages outside of the building.

No, we provide our own security, but the police will be called if the Center’s rules are not followed.

The Thoreau Center is rented to you for the day. Although your actual event is limited to no more that six hours, you may get into the venue as early as 8:00 a.m. to set up for your event.

Your actual event, not counting set-up and clean-up time, may not last more than six hours. Your event must be over and your guests gone by 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, or by 10:00 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays.

No. We will talk with you during the week before your event to find out how you want the table and chairs set up and they will be set up by us before you arrive. We provide table cloths for the tables in the library and solarium. You must provide the table cloths for the banquet tables in the main gallery. If you bring in chairs, tables or other items, they must have rubber or felt protectors on the legs so that our hardwood floors will not be damaged. Vinyl, plastic and metal protectors may not be used.

This historic venue is already beautifully decorated, but you may provide additional decorations to personalize your event, such as pictures, balloons, flowers. Nothing shall be attached to the walls, woodwork, ceilings or any fixtures without obtaining prior permission from the owners of The Thoreau Center. Renter may not use glitter, confetti, sparkles or other small decorative items that are hard to clean up. No plants or furniture in The Thoreau Center may be moved without the Owner’s prior approval.

The Thoreau Center is a smoke-free property. You must ensure that you and your guests do not smoke either inside or outside of the building, or on the church’s parking lot to the south of the property.

Your clean-up work must be finished within three hours after the end of your event. You must be done with clean-up, however, by midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and by 11:00 on Sundays through Thursdays. When the event is over, you must return the property to the condition it was in prior to the event. You must clean up the property by cleaning the kitchen counter-tops, placing all trash accumulated during the event in the trash bins located in the garage, turning off the air conditioner and locking all doors and windows. You should not sweep or mop the floors, but you should wipe up any liquid or spilled food on the floors with paper towels. Do not use anything other than water to clean up messes on the floors. You do not need to move or put away any tables and chairs that belong to The Thoreau Center.

You should remove from the property everything brought into The Thoreau Center by you or your guests by the end of the rental period, except for trash which must be placed into the trash containers in the garage. Anything left on the property after the end of the rental period will be thrown away.

No candles with natural flames, or other open flames, are allowed on the property. You may use electronic or battery candles. The fireplace in The Thoreau Center does not work and may not be used.

No guns or illegal drugs are allowed on the property, either inside or outside of the building, or on the church’s parking lot to the south of The Thoreau Center. You and your guests shall not violate any federal, state, or local laws while on the property. You are responsible for all actions of your guests and you must not allow any illegal or disruptive activities. You must supervise the event during the entire period of use.

You must comply with the city’s noise ordinance. This means that music and other sounds within the building should not be able to be heard at the property lines of The Thoreau Center. If you are inside the building and have to shout in order to be heard, your music is too loud. The Center has excellent acoustics, so music and speakers normally do not need to be amplified. No amplified music is allowed outside of the building.

The Thoreau Center does not provide Wi-Fi or other Internet service. Nor does it provide audio-visual equipment. The Center has great acoustics, so music or speakers normally do not need amplification. Background music can easily be provided throughout the building with a cell phone and a small speaker.

No. The damage/security deposit is not part of the rental fee. It is a separate fee that is used to pay for any damages that you or your guests cause to The Thoreau Center, including a failure to follow The Center’s rules. It is also used to cover any extra cleaning that is needed after your event, and to cover costs incurred if your event is cancelled without appropriate notice. If you follow the rules and do not cause any damage, the deposit is returned to you within 30 days after your event. Most deposits are fully returned to our renters.