Does the Midwest Matter?
From Thirty Two Magazine:
Driving north from Des Moines not long ago, I veered off the freeway to a place I knew about but had never had any reason to visit. When I got there, I could see why: Mason City, Iowa was a miserable looking town filled with functional commercial buildings that left me with a vague feeling of despair as I passed them by.
Nonetheless, I was there because the city had done something historic, something of such cultural significance that I had first seen mention of it on the BBC. It had saved and restored one of the most important buildings in the world, the City National Bank and Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and first opened in 1910. Now it had been reborn as the Historic Park Inn after a $20 million renovation.
It may be news to you that Mason City exists, let alone that it has such a building. But it does, and the fact that this is not widely known seems to me like some kind of crime. Barely anyone is aware that one of the most architecturally significant hotels in the world could exist in an ordinary, downtrodden Midwestern town. It is this fact that I find both so inspiring and so disturbing.