DES MOINES, Iowa — This year, Cedar Rock State Park and other public Frank Lloyd Wright sites around the world will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the famed architect’s birth.
Born on June 8, 1867, Wright literally shaped the face of the modern world as an architect, and 150 years later his work is still influential. With their innovation and sustainable design, Wright’s structures serve as inspiration for modern architects and designers.
“The people of Iowa have a rare gem in Cedar Rock,” says Kathryn Hund, park manager for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at Cedar Rock. “The property is like a time capsule, a beautifully preserved example of Wright’s architectural and interior design.”
Originally the retirement estate of Iowa businessman Lowell Walter and his wife, Agnes, Cedar Rock was donated to the State of Iowa in 1981. The Wright-designed residence lies on a limestone bluff overlooking the Wapsipinicon River near Quasqueton in Buchanan County.
The Walter house was finished in 1950 and is one of Wright’s most complete designs. Nearly everything at Cedar Rock bears the architect’s imprint, including its interior furnishings. Besides the home, Wright-designed facilities at the park include the one-of-a-kind River Pavilion, council fire and a formal entrance gate.
Cedar Rock is one of nine Wright-designed residences in Iowa, but is the only one chosen by Wright to bear his coveted signature tile.
Hund is proud of the fact that, in April, the park was visited by CNN “Travel.” A crew spent time filming the historic estate as part of an upcoming segment commemorating Wright and the 150th anniversary.
“We don’t yet know exactly when the feature will be completed and air,” says Hund, “But we will do our best to get the word out when we do.”
This week, Hund also welcomed Iowa Tourism Office representatives, there to recognize Cedar Rock State Park for its contribution to the state’s $8.06 billion tourism industry.
“We realize that Cedar Rock plays a key role in our local economy,” says Hund. “And we are so fortunate to have it as part of the public trust. Please take time to visit us this year and enjoy some of our special events surrounding the 150th anniversary.”
Cedar Rock State Park is located between Quasqueton and Independence at 2611 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd, Independence. Cedar Rock State Park is expected to open for the season on Friday, May 26. For information on tour times or to make a tour reservation, call the park office at 319-934-3572. For more information visit the Friends of Cedar Rock website at www.friendsofcedarrock.org
2017 special events at Cedar Rock State Park include:
May 20, Celebration of the Wright River Pavilion Restoration Project
The River Pavilion at Cedar Rock State Park is one of only five Wright-designed boathouses and the only one existing as originally designed. The Cedar Rock boathouse and rock outcropping are landmarks on the banks of the Wapsipinicon River. Over the years, flooding, weather, vandalism and age took their toll on the unique structure. In 2016, through various funding sources and donations, the River Pavilion was restored.
The Iowa DNR and the Friends of Cedar Rock invite the public to attend a restoration celebration, May 20 from 1 – 3 p.m. Celebration remarks will be made at 1:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and the house and grounds will be open for those attending.
June 10, Strawberry Moon Evening — Celebrating 150 Years of Frank Lloyd Wright
The Friends of Cedar Rock will celebrate 150 years of Frank Lloyd Wright at their annual Strawberry Moon Evening, June 10. This special evening allows guests the chance to experience the Walter residence after hours. The public is invited to explore the rarely open Maid’s Quarters and the newly restored River Pavilion, and stroll through the house meander to relax by a fire at the Council Fire.
The Friends of Cedar Rock group requests a free-will donation for the event, with all proceeds used to help support Cedar Rock State Park.
Oct. 14, An Afternoon with Frank Lloyd Wright
Lecture symposium featuring speakers on Wright and his work, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1, Annual 1st Day Hike
Kick off your new year the ‘Wright’ way with a hike at Cedar Rock State Park. Meet at visitor center at 1 p.m.
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Natural Resources press release