Tag Archives: iowa

Our Winter Excursion to the Stockman House
And the Discovery of a Scale Model of our American System Built Home

Stockman House, Mason City, Iowa

Since buying our American System Built house in Northeast Iowa last year, we’ve been planning to visit all of the other Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in the state. There was talk over the summer of taking a weekend trek to Mason City to tour the Stockman House and the Historic Park Inn, both of which were under construction a few years before our house was built. As it turns out, our own house projects trumped any plans for a road trip this summer.

We finally had the occasion to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to Mason City last week. And while the extremely cold temperatures kept us from fully appreciating all that Mason City has to offer, we did get to tour the Stockman house. We’ve been particularly interested in seeing the Stockman House because it is very similar in design to our own home. Built in 1909, the Stockman is based on Wright’s fireproof home designs, which is a style that the architect relied heavily on when he was designing the American System homes.

We were hoping to glean some tips on the restoration of our own home by visiting the Stockman house. And while we did get a few ideas from our tour, the real treat of the trip was stumbling upon a scale model of our own home.

Scale model of the Delbert Meier House

We had just walked into the Architectural Interpretive Center adjacent to the Stockman house and were trying to warm up when the docent asked us about our connection to Frank Lloyd Wright.

“Oh,” The Mister replied, “we actually own one of his American System Built homes here in Iowa.”

“You mean this one?” the docent asked as she pointed toward a little house made of balsa wood.Scale model of the Delbert Meier House at the Architectural Interpretive Center in Mason City, Iowa

“Mister!” he called from across the room. “They have our house!”

The fact that there is a scale model of our house is not a total surprise. We knew through a previous email exchange with a professor of architecture that models had been created of all of the Wright homes in Iowa, including our American System Built home. We did not, however, know that the models still existed. And we certainly had no idea that the model of our house was on display in Mason City. What a wonderful surprise!

Scale model of Delbert Meier House

The model was built by Raymond Gandayuwana and Derek Quang and is a very accurate depiction not only of the house but the landscape surrounding it. From the windows to the trim and even down to the gradient in the landscaping, the model is an amazing representation of our home as it would have looked before the front facade was altered. There is one window missing from the second floor of the model house, but why quibble over small details?

MORE WRIGHT IN IOWA INFORMATION:

Images: This American House

Pioneer Cemetery: Rossville, Iowa

Pioneer Cemetery: Rossville, Iowa | This American House

One of the many things The Mister and I have in common is an appreciation for cemeteries. He spent his teen years exploring old cemeteries along the plains of North Dakota and I spent mine discovering forgotten burial grounds on the back roads of rural Ohio. Mind you, we weren’t goth kids and there was nothing macabre about our appreciation of cemeteries. The Mister was interested in the history of the crumbling tombstones and I was just happy to escape to someplace that offered solitude and silence.

Continue reading

Small Business Spotlight: Turkey River Mall in Elkader, Iowa

Turkey River Mall in Elkader, Iowa | This American House

We found Turkey River Mall pretty quickly after we moved into our house. I don’t remember how we found it – whether it was recommended by a local or whether we just stumped upon it – but it’s where we picked up our $10 bedside table, our $29 dining room table, and many, many more things to furnish the house. Each time we’ve gone into the mall, I’ve marveled at the ingenious use of this former hotel. After months of shopping at Turkey River Mall, I finally sat down with the owner, Becky Dietzler, to get a little history on the building and the business.

Continue reading

Iowa: A Place Where the Honor System is Still Honored

A Place Where the Honor System is Still Honored | This American House

Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the city, where things that aren’t bolted down will be quickly carried away. Even bolting things down may not guarantee they won’t be stolen. There was that time two years ago when the catalytic converter was stolen right off our car as it was parked outside of our apartment building. Yep, that’s the stuff that will make a  man very, very jaded.

Continue reading

Postcard from the Past: 100 Years of Monona, Iowa

Monona, Iowa - 1914 and 2014

The Mister picked up this postcard depicting our little town on Ebay a few weeks ago. It wasn’t until it had arrived and we were taking a closer look at the postcard that we took note of the postdate. June 30, 1914. In case you’re not keeping track of your calendar, that’s 100 years ago. Exactly one hundred years ago today even! What a perfect time to take a look at the city now vs. then.

Continue reading