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Iowa History Daily: September 10 - Wright's Park Inn of Mason City

Iowa History Daily: On September 10, 1910, guests arrived at a gala to celebrate the newly opened Park Inn Hotel of Mason City. Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the building represents the only remaining hotel designed by Wright still standing today.

Mason City attorneys J.E.E. Markley and James E. Blythe commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a hotel and bank in the city’s downtown in 1907. Wright's initial drawings of the bank and hotel date to December 17, 1908, and construction started on April 1, 1909. Wright supervised construction over the summer until he departed for Europe in October of that year.

Wright envisioned a unique space blending his signature Prairie Style with the modern amenities including indoor plumbing and electricity. Despite up-to-date appeal and prime location, the Park Inn Hotel struggled through a relatively short initial life. By 1922, the business was barely afloat, and the restaurant was closed more than it was open. When competition from other hotels paired with economic decline in the agricultural sector following World War I, the hotel and bank ended up in separate hands and underwent significant changes starting in 1928.

Over the years both properties fell into disrepair, and by 2005 the properties found listed on Preservation Iowa’s “Most Endangered” properties list. However, thanks to a group of local preservationists who formed the Wright on the Park organization the hotel returned to its former glory after a massive historic restoration project. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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