Does the Midwest Matter?

millcity_web-1From 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.

Read the Rest here.

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