Just a few years ago, the city fathers of Mason City, Iowa, were thinking of trying to sell it on E-Bay, but this past March a $9 million state grant is making it more likely that Frank Lloyd Wright's 1910 Park Inn, his last surviving hotel, will finally be restored to its original glory. It's part of a $34 million plan that will also see the restoration of the adjacent City National Bank, designed by Wright at the same time. The two buildings were featured in the 1910 Wasmuth Portfolio that established Wright's reputation throughout Europe. After the hotel closed in 1972, the building went into a long decline, but in the new plan, it will be restored to its original purpose and become, the city hopes, a major tourist draw.
A new documentary on the hotel, The Last Wright, will have its debut this Saturday, November 1st, at 3:00 P.M., at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 North State. The filmmakers, Iowan Garry McGee and New Yorker Lucille Carra, worked on the project for over three years, and are scheduled to be in attendance. "Through rare archival footage, and a look at stunning Wright masterpieces, this film offers a provocative, ironic tapestry of an American century, tracing the life, death and rebirth of a Midwest downtown through the prism of The Park Inn."
The 60-minute documentary will be paired with This American Gothic which depicts Eldon, Iowa's efforts at reviving their town through a Gothic House Visitor Center "in honor of the local structure that inspired Grant Wood's iconic [painting] American Gothic."