To herald a decade having passed since the Historic Park Inn Hotel reopened in downtown Mason City, area artists Andrew Newell and Amelia Ouverson collaborated on the words and music of a piece called "To Make a Home." The Una Vocis Choral Ensemble of Mason City performed the original work in the ballroom of the hotel on Sunday afternoon and the final words of the song fit an event all about preservation and continuation.
"But to honor what remains, to restore, to make a home," the choral members sang in the space designed by Frank Lloyd Wright more than 100 years ago.
Between its initial opening and the celebration of its return in 2011, the nationally historic place and last remaining Wright hotel had numerous ups and downs including: odd remodels and renovations, competition from other lodging sites, closure and, in 1999, listing on the "10 Most Endangered Historic Properties" from the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance (according to the National Park Service).
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During her introduction of the event, Peggy Bang, a board member of Wright on the Park, which is dedicated to preserving the Historic Park Inn, said that such a rebound could only happen for one reason.
"(The) community made this possible," she said.
After the first performance and a tour, Bang said that she hopes events such as these can be a way for the Historic Park Inn Hotel to connect with the community in a new way that it hasn't before.
"Our goal is to continue and keep it fresh and we thought doing a little celebration like this today would be something that people hadn’t anticipated. So we want to keep doing things like that," Bang said.
Bang then pointed out that a building of the Historic Park Inn Hotel's vintage will continue to have practical concerns as well.
"This is a 111-year-old building so there is always going to be ongoing maintenance and preservation so we just hope that people continue to support us and learn more about how Wright fits into our community," she said.
Jared McNett covers local government for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Jared.McNett@globegazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0527. Follow Jared on Twitter at @TwoHeadedBoy98.
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