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Historic Park Inn Hotel

Visitors gather in front of the Historic Park Inn in a file photo from the hotel’s grand re-opening in September 2011. It represents historic preservation -- something the public appreciates, according to Vision North Iowa surveys

MASON CITY — The fifth anniversary of the opening of the restored Historic Park Inn Hotel will be celebrated Sept. 5-10 with a variety of events.

Wright on the Park, the non-profit organization that owns the Frank Lloyd Wright landmark, and HPI Partners LLC, the group that operates the hotel, are joining forces to mark the occasion.

“We have so much to celebrate,” said Pat Schultz, executive director of Wright on the Park. “I think this non-profit group has proven what a group of local, determined citizens can accomplish.

“HPI Partners does a great job operating the hotel and working to also preserve the building that is bringing so many people to Mason City,” Schultz added. “It has taken a lot of people to create this success story.”

Events include a LEGO contest, Family Fun Day, and Murder Mystery at the hotel, all sponsored by Wright on the Park. HPI Partners is hosting a 1910 Charitable Glow Run on the Plaza Sept. 8 and a Speak Easy Evening on Sept. 10.

LEGO Contest

Entries and the $1 entry fee must be turned in to the WOTP office, 17 S. Federal Ave., by 4 p.m. Sept. 3. Entry forms are available at Wright on the Park. Entries will be moved to Central Park for the Family Fun Day, when winners will be announced and prizes awarded.

Family Fun Day

Activities offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 5 in Central Park include coloring, hat making, building, hopscotch, hoop rolling, painting and more, supervised by adult volunteers and offering fun and prizes for children of all ages. Food vendors will be on hand, and music is planned.

Hotel tours will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cost is $5 (normally $10). Children 12 and under accompanied by an adult are free. At 2 p.m. the award-winning film about the restoration, “The Historic Park Inn Hotel,” will be shown in the ballroom. Admission is free.

Murder Mystery

“Strychnine and Valentines” Murder Mystery will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9. People are invited to solve the mystery, loosely based on a real case.

Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served at 7 p.m. in the hotel ballroom. The action begins at 7:45.

In 1898, the big news in Mason City was the murder of Ed Hughes, a local windmill and pump sales and repair man. The resulting scandal rocked the town.

To find the killer, guests will explore the hotel, find the people involved and ask them questions. The characters will be portrayed by local actors from Mason City and Clear Lake.

Back at the ballroom, participants can hear a summation of the case and express opinions about who did the “dirty deed.” Voting will follow, and prizes will be awarded.

Tickets are $40 per person, available at Wright on the Park, 17 S. Federal Ave., 641-423-0689, or the main desk at The Historic Park Inn Hotel.

1910 Glow Run

Light the Night Charity Glow Run will be Thursday, Sept. 8, on the Plaza downtown. Tickets are $5 and proceeds will go to Community Action to help people struggling to pay electric bills. Registration is scheduled for 18:30 (6:30 p.m.) with the run starting at 19:10 (7:30).

Glow sticks will be provided for the runners for the 1910-meter event. (The Park Inn Hotel originally opened in 1910). Following the run, a short movie will be shown on the north wall of the Historic Park Inn Hotel. Everyone is invited.

Speak Easy

Food, music and fun are planned for the Speak Easy from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at The Historic Park Inn.

Tickets, $50 per person, are available at the hotel desk. The evening will include live music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, champagne and a cash bar.

Attendees are invited to dress in flapper or gangster costumes, or as silent film stars. Normal party attire is also accepted. You have to have a “password” (on your ticket) to get in.

When the hotel first opened in 1910, Mason City was “supposedly” a dry town. Soon after, prohibition hit the country and “speakeasies” with illegal alcohol sprung up across the nation. Gangsters fought to make money from contraband while new music, dances, short skirts and bobbed hair hit the scene.


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