The Road Trip: Day Eight

Posted: August 4, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

A tale of two towns – Midwestern mantras

Sioux Falls and books. It has been nearly a year since copies of Listener in the Snow and Observation Hill, a novel of class and murder were shelved at Zambroz’s Variety in this vital and bustling downtown district of Sioux Falls.8 v Frankly, I expected to retrieve the books, but loaded my satchel with bookmarks, my review booklet, and two copies of The Advent of Elizabeth, just to be prepared. What happened? The store manager/owner and I came up with a promotion plan (up to me and the Argus, the daily paper) and she shelved Advent with my other two titles.  I figure the key to success will be through snow. I’ll leave that enigma for a later reveal. What I will say now is that Midwestern kindness and wisdom won out once again.

Mason City and architects and books. I had not expected to go off my direct track and visit this Iowa town though I had had it on my Bookworld-radar. (This successful small chain has supported Finns Way Books’ efforts for years). I took the turn to southbound I 35 and was greeted later at Bookworld but first by my favorite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Like my own home town, Cloquet (the gas station and a prairie style house), Mason City claims two FLW structures a deco-feel house and a hotel which might be important since Toyko destroyed theirs. The hotel is now called Historic Park Inn (HPI) with 25 or so rooms. Just down State street is a decoesque FLW house.  The HPI was renovated in 2011 but retains the feeling of the original. Unfortunately no furniture or carpets survived. Here is what I believe to be authentic Wright:

The registration desk crouches below Wright’s signature low ceiling, cozy and comforting, which past the desk rises high to define the mezzanine sitting room that overlooks the lobby proper. The feeling of a Wrightian space is strong.

The house is being renovated, is less intriguing, but still something to visit during my October 8th visit.

My guess is a stairway occupies the rounded tower and that a living room is positioned over garages. Not the prairie style, but perhaps more important because of that. More in October, perhaps.

 

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