iowa modern retreat

So as winters go, I think we can all agree that we’ve just had a doozy! One way I like to help celebrate spring is to plan my first road trip that should be free of blowing snow and  ice. This year I decided to head to our southern neighbor state of Iowa. I know that doesn’t sound like much and you’re probably wondering what Iowa could offer up with regard to a modern architecture road trip?

Mason City, IA is 2 hours south driving straight down interstate 35. It just happens to also be home to the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed hotel in the world! This remarkable hotel was designed in 1909 and opened in 1910 housing law offices, City National Bank and the Historic Park Inn consisting of 41 rooms. 

Today it is still called the Historic Park Inn but no longer houses the law offices or the bank and its original 41 rooms have been renovated to just 21 modern rooms. The cost and time of the renovation ran almost $20 million and two years to complete with a Grand Opening in September of 2011. 

This was a great little get-a-way that didn’t take much effort and yet made me feel as though I was no where near Iowa. The staff are all very well versed in Frank Lloyd Wright history and encourage their guests to explore the building and take in all of its unique spatial qualities. The attention to detail on the renovation is remarkable. The rooms were wonderfully updated yet made to feel as though you were visiting in the 1920’s. 

Be sure to include the “walking tour” on your visit for a look at a large collection of Prairie School Architecture. The tour of the historic Rock Glen area is just a few blocks away from the Historic Park Inn Mason City hotel and contains homes designed and built by several of Frank Lloyd Wrights’ students. You may also want to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman house & Interpretive Center to learn more about the Prairie School movement in Mason City complete with a docent led tour. 

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