Random Notes - December 2005


30 December 2005
I’ve started assembling the Wisconsin pages in earnest. Kristin Visser’s book, “Frank Lloyd Wright & the Prairie School in Wisconsin” is a great resource. In addition, there are a number of informative websites with the architectural histories of several Madison, Wisconsin, neighborhoods.

28 December 2005
While I’ve traveled around quite a bit and seen a few things, most of the entries in this site have come from Prairie School histories or architectural guidebooks. Another source I’ve been using is the listings of the National Register of Historic Places. These last couple days I’ve been cross-referencing the Iowa and Minnesota NRHP with my lists, which has yielded some new entries. I regard them only as leads, because the term “Prairie School” is sometimes used pretty loosely in the NRHP citations. (It can be worse: Purcell & Elmslie’s Polson House in Spooner, Wisconsin, is listed by the NRHP as being in the “Beaux Arts” style.)

I first visited William L. Steele’s Livestock National Bank building in Sioux City, just west of the stockyards, fifteen years ago. It was already slipping into decrepitude at that point: all of the windows had been replaced with glass block, the adjacent Livestock Exchange was unused, and both were surrounded by dusty gravel parking lots. Nevertheless, the Bank’s distinctive Sullivanesque terra cotta ornament was still evident to all. Some housekeeping in my Sioux City pages led me to Google “Livestock National Bank” today, and I discovered that it has recently met its end. The Livestock Exchange building burned in 1998, damaging the Bank building and leading to the demolition of the Exchange. The Bank was placed on the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance’s 2002 list of Most Endangered Properties, but was razed by the City of Sioux City in 2003. However, the terra cotta ornament was saved, and plans are afoot to build a fountain that incorporates them.

19 December 2005
I am assembling the basic entry pages for Minnesota. A trip later this week will give me the opportunity to photograph some houses in Sheffield and Hampton, Iowa and Sullivan’s bank in Owatonna, Minnesota. I’m finding that scanning my slides, some of which
are now almost twenty years old, doesn’t yield very satisfactory images, so I'm revisiting some places to take new, digital images.

14 December 2005
The first entry in this blog is a disappointing one. I have driven past Marshalltown, Iowa, on U.S. Hwy. 30, the Lincoln Highway, on many occasions, always in a hurry somewhere. A trip this week on Hwy. 65, through the heart of Marshalltown, gave the opportunity to visit Hugh M.G. Garden’s Church of Christ, Scientist. Regrettably, however, it appears the building has been razed, since 412 West Main Street is now a vacant lot. The moral, of course, is ‘seek them while they may be found.’


Old Notes


As always, I welcome your comments about this site or any Prairie School building.

John A. Panning, Lake City, Iowa






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