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.
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.