101 years after it first opened, Wright’s Park Inn Hotel is back in the lodging business. While work is still taking place, guests can once again make reservations to stay at the renovated hotel, and a Grand Opening is planned for September 5-11.
I spent some time last week walking around the hotel and adjoining bank building, and the architectural detailing is amazing. Spend a little time around this structure and you will begin to realize why it was worth the nearly $20 million that was spent restoring it. Words cannot do justice to the mix of stained glass, rich woods, brass, copper and brick that have been blended together by Wright’s masterful touch into an architectural symphony. I have included some recent photos below to help tell the tale, and more are available on our Facebook page.
The original bank and adjoining hotel were designed for James E. Blythe and J. E. E. Markley, two Mason City attorneys. They wanted a building that could compete with the new, eight story bank that was being constructed across the street. Markley was familiar with Wright because his daughters attended a school in Spring Green, Wisconsin, that Wright had designed. The original Blythe and Markley structure contained a bank, the law offices of Blythe and Markley, and the 42 room hotel. It opened in 1910. It remained the area’s premiere hotel until 1922 when a more modern, upscale eight story hotel opened nearby. From that point on, the story of the Park Inn was one of decline.
The Wright on the Park organization has overcome many obstacles to bring the Park Inn Hotel back to life. Their website, wrightonthepark.org, has numerous photos covering the renovation process as well as background information on the building, the community and Frank Lloyd Wright. Anyone with an interest in Wright should make a visit to see his only remaining hotel as well as the Stockman House, a private residence designed by Wright. There are also several other homes designed by Prairie School architects in Mason City. If you enjoy Prairie School architecture and the Arts and Crafts period, a trip to Mason City is well worth your time; and now you have a place to stay that epitomizes these styles.
Filed under: 1, Daily Dose of Masonry, Moisture Management, News and Updates | Tagged: abandoned buildings, adaptive reuse, architecture, frank lloyd wright, history, Mason City history, masonry technology, mti, Prairie School, sustainability | Leave a comment »