All is Wright again at the Park Inn Hotel
When the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Park Inn Hotel needed a restoration that stayed true to the great architect's vision, experts turned to AIA partner Andersen Windows
When it was built in 1910, the Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa, was heralded as a one-of-a-kind achievement, combining a bank, office building, and hotel in Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Prairie School style. However, the following decade brought the farm crisis and bank failures, leading to drastic changes to the inn’s design and devastation to its clean lines and breathtaking interiors.
Year after year, the building continued to deteriorate until, after a short-lived conversion into down-market apartments, it was abandoned. Yet as the property was declining, Frank Lloyd Wright’s reputation was growing; as a result, the Park Inn Hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was also listed as one of the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance's Most Endangered Properties.
In 2000, the city of Mason City purchased the hotel. Soon after, a group of passionate advocates formed Wright on the Park (WOTP); the organization created a strategic plan for restoring the hotel and began searching for building products that stayed true to Frank Lloyd Wright’s original vision. One of their choices was Andersen Windows.
With the advice of preservation experts, WOTP carefully assessed the inn’s condition, including which windows could be restored, and determined that 72 would have to be replaced. With the specifications of the original windows being so well documented, Andersen was able to customize the new ones to replicate their authentic look and feel, down to the colors, shapes, and textures of the art glass.
In 2011, just over a century after the hotel first opened its doors, Park Inn celebrated its grand reopening. It is the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed and built hotel in the world and—thanks to the dedicated efforts of WOTP and their devotion to architectural authenticity—it never looked more Wright.
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