I have been fascinated with Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style since I was a kid. I think it comes from walking by his Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa. The building was an island of extraordinary in a sea of bland brick boxes. I don’t imagine that too many kids asked their parents to take them to buildings designed by specific architects, but I did ask mine to do just that!
Wright didn’t design many hotels, and this is the last surviving one. Built in 1910 the hotel and adjoining bank had fallen on hard times by the 1950s, but it still reflected a unique presence even in a deteriorated state. Thanks to determined area residents, the hotel and bank are being restored, and the hotel is slated to reopen later this summer. You can learn more about this project at the Wright on the Park website. If you would like some history on how Wright got involved with this hotel project in Mason City, you can get some historical background here. If you like Wright’s architectural style but can’t make it to the Midwest, here’s an index to surviving Wright designed buildings around the country.
Northeast Iowa, the area Masonry Technology Inc. calls home, has several Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes and buildings. Mason City has two as well as several others designed by other notable Prairie School architects like Louis Sullivan. You can view images of them here. There is also an Iowa index of buildings of Prairie School design.
I have included some photos of the remodel from its north side (the side facing Central Park). These were taken on a rainy day toward the end of April.