Problems With Mason City?

We recently just published an article about the most popular parks and recreation areas in Mason City, that’s great but recently it has come to my attention that you’re quite limited on what you can do. Some you’re not able to play ball games, ridiculous we thought, however no it is true and something we’re trying to combat.

I got shown an article about a metal detector enthusiast from my friend Richard from about a man who was trying to fight for the rights to go metal detecting in these parks.

He took a bag of his finds with him to show them, he left empty handed. They actually seized his findings as it wasn’t legal for him to search within 3 feet of a previously disturbed area.

City Planner Tricia Sandahl informed board members in a memo that provisions of the flood buyout grants for the East Park area include “protection of archaeological remains.”

She said, “We’re not allowed to disturb the ground within three feet of a previously disturbed area like a building foundation, sidewalk, etc.”

She said the requirements are permanent unless the city receives specific permission to move dirt. “It would be inappropriate for people to be out metal detecting on the buyout lots,” said Sandahl.

Sayles came to the Park Board’s Tuesday meeting after a park official stopped him recently from metal detecting in East Park. Sayles was furious.

He wrote a letter to the Park Board saying he was treated rudely adding, “I have been metal detecting in Mason City’s parks for years, welcomed and greeted by citizens and police and even park workers many times.

“I know that city code nor any ordinances are in effect that prohibits this useful hobby, nor should there be.”

He came to the Park Board seeking clarification.

In a separate memo to the Park Board, Street Superintendent Bob Berggren said two sections of a city ordinance come into play. One says no one “shall deface or injure any building, tree, shrub or plant or other improvements” in the parks.

You can see from the snippet above that it isn’t a widely known rule, luckily my friend doesn’t live in Mason city otherwise he’d have to seriously consider where he goes! But what is your opinion on this? We can’t personally see a problem with it, providing the detectors are responsible and put the ground back. We could understand if they didn’t want people to do it out of fear of damaging the parks but not what they’ve said.

The park in question.
The park in question.


Best Parks In Mason City Iowa

Mason City as one of the cities with valuable historical properties, such as Historic Park Inn, the last remaining hotel that Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built, could be considered as a calm city with many places that people can use for their spiritual growth and social events. Now, if you are thinking of peace and quality time you could spend in a good company, what would be the first place you would visit? Generally, nature relates to peace and Mason City has many parks that its citizens and visitors can enjoy regularly!

Here are some of them:

  1. MacNider Campgrounds

This park is located in a quiet and pleasant neighborhood that families frequently enjoy. There is a large aquatics center and several pools for sunny days. You don’t need a reservation to visit this place but you can call the host to get information about availability of specific facilities and they will let you know what they have open. This park also has biking and walking paths and multiple playgrounds. It is very clean as well so in summary: it a great place to relax your mind and spend some quality time with your closest ones or by yourself.


  1. Camp at the Woods

Since 1900 when this park was barely starting to function as one to this day with more than 90 acre family resort, Camp at the Woods was innovated and changed many times. It was formed on Lake George’s shores and today is located on Lake Pleasant that is more than beautiful. Apart from the natural beach of 1,400 foot and 1,300 seat auditorium, visitors can enjoy the sport complex state-of-the-art, a challenge course, tennis courts, zip-line, climbing wall and many more interesting activities. People with different interests visit this park daily. Whether it’s having some private relaxation time, time of spiritual growth or recreation, everyone just finds what they enjoy the most.

Since its 1900 founding, this camp has been providing a cozy environment for individuals, families, and groups that would focus on prayers and Jesus Christ. Today, after more than 100 years, it is still a favorite place of families and individuals, although not with a specific purpose but everyone has their own.

  1. Clear Lake State Park

As the name implies, the park is located around the lake and has nice sceneries and places that everyone can find the comfort in. The playground equipment for children is available too so considering the whole environment, it is a great place for long walks. Whether it’s with your family or by yourself, you can find peace and enjoy the nice view and feeling of this park.


  1. The Lime Creek Nature Center

In 1984, this park was opened as a conservation education facility for North Iowa. It was made inclusively of donations from businesses, private citizens, foundations, and organizations. None of the programs inside this nature center are tax funded because the management relies only on donations and memberships that help them maintain and improve this place. It has open fields, flood-plain forest, restored prairie and limestone bluffs. It is an ideal place for many recreational activities and wildlife, for all the nature lovers.  You can also visit a gift shop and natural resource library while exploring the area.


Landmarks in Mason City

Mason City is known for some of the historical landmarks that seem very attractive to tourists and history lovers. We can find some structures of famous architects and firms that may not exist anywhere else but in this city. Luckily, they were maintained in good condition thanks to various organizations and new owners. The fact that Mason City is considered one of the 14 cities that architects enjoy visiting the most, says enough about the beauty of designs we can find here that can be called pieces of art.

Prairie School and Architecture

The collection of Praire School architecture is one of the most famous things about Mason City. It is the largest concentration in Iowa. One commercial building and at least 32 houses were built in this area between the time periods 1908-1922. Even 17 of them were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That’s not all but 8 more are known as contributing properties to sophisticated historic district.

Wright’s designs

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the first two Prairie structures. The Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank Buildings, dating back from 1909-1910 and Dr. G.C. Stockman House from 1908.

Stockman House and Park Inn Hotel were both neglected and at the border of disappearance until the community organizations finally saved them. Afterwards. The Stockman House almost faced a demolition so it was moved four blocks in order to prevent it, back in 1989. In the other hand, Wright on the Park, Inc. started to restore the Park Inn Hotel as well in 2005. That was not the only property coming back to life but the initial building of City National Bank also got restored in 2007. It took the organization a few years to official reopen these buildings in August 2011. They were both now boutique hotels. The Park Inn Hotel is one of the very few hotels that still remind us of Wright. Not only that but it’s labeled as a Wright’s Imperial Hotel prototype.

Rock Crest – Rock Glen Historical District

This district is a collection of single-family houses, located along Willow Creek’s banks, east of the downtown. This amazing and largest collection of homes in prairie style in a natural setting is unique and doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. The Usonian and Prairie School designs are both present here. Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin designed five houses in this area. Francis Barry Byrne designed two and Curtis Besinger, William Drummond and Einar Broaten designed the rest.

As we can see, Prairie Style is one of the most common styles in Mason City. Moreover, we can find extensive Craftsman, Bungalow, and Victorian style homes. There are also historical properties dating back from 1892-1940. They are very interesting to tourists, especially the Brick and Tile Building from State and Delaware Streets.

The Mason City Public Library

Holabird & Root, the oldest architectural firm from Chicago designed the public library in 1939.


The Len Jus Building

The rare sheet-metal façade of this building has been considered as one of the most endangered historical properties because of the bad-quality repair and neglect. However, it was later fixed and brought back to function decently after getting a new owner.

If you would like to learn more or perhaps organize a tour, please contact us and we can discuss something going forward.