October 17, 2015
Our Iowa day trip took us this year to Mason City and Westbend, IA. We visited two projects designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, The Stockman House (1909) and the Historic Park Inn and Bank (1910) in Mason City. We also visited the Rock Crest, Rock Glen neighborhood which included a collection of Prairie School architecture, designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Griffin, James Blythe and others between 1908 and 1922 (developers James Blythe and Joshua Melson). Seventeen of the neighborhood’s buildings are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We ended the day at the Grotto of the Redemption in Westbend, IA. It is folk architecture marvel, a series of nine contiguous grottos occupying a full city block, constructed of minerals, petrified rocks, and semiprecious gems, built by Fr. Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954) between 1912 and his death. His successors continued to add to the complex through 1994.
Frank Lloyd Wright, The Stockman House (1909), Mason City, IA
A view of the Historic Park Inn and Bank (1910) from the city square, Mason City, IA
View of the James Blythe House (1913) and the Joshua Melson House (The Castle), both by Walter Burley Griffin in the Rock Crest, Rock Glen neighborhood
Grotto of the Redemption (1912-1994), built by Fr. Paul Dobberstein in Westbend, IA
Having fun at Mason City’s plaza