Random Notes - A Blog


6 September 2007

The Twilight of the Prairie School
Sioux City, Iowa, that unlikely outpost of Progressive design, was roiled this spring with the announcement that the Williges Building would be demolished by its owner, the Security National Bank, to make way for a parking lot. The building has been vacant since 1998, and was beginning to attract vandalism. At the eleventh hour, an unnamed developer has come forward with plans for the building.

German-born clothier August Williges (pronounced with a hard “g”: WILL-ih-ghis) commissioned the building from local architect William L. Steele in 1926. Only Steele’s friend George Elmslie continued to produce designs with Prairie hallmarks at this late date. Steele’s enduring fame comes from his facilitation of the design of the Woodbury County Court House, worked out in detail by Elmslie. This building, and indeed all of the Prairie buildings in Sioux City, have never received their due because of their remote location.


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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