Every good story starts with a friendship.
The Stockman House is no different.
The Hillside Home School in Spring Green, WI was run by two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s aunts and was attended by the daughters of Mason City attorney, James E.E. Markley. In 1902, Wright had completed the school's second building and had developed a friendship with Markley.
Markely and James E. Blythe, another prominent Mason City attorney, sat on the Board of Directors of the City National Bank. When the bank decided to construct a new building, Markley recommended his friend, Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1907-1908, Wright traveled to Mason City several times as the discussions continued for the proposed bank building, which now included a hotel and offices for the Blythe, Markely, Rule and Smith law firm.
One of Markley’s neighbors was Dr. George C. Stockman, who met with Wright and engaged him to design a home for himself and his wife, Eleanor, in Mason City. The Stockman House became the ninth project Wright designed in 1908.
The Stockman House is an iteration of Wright’s Fireproof House, which was published in the April 1907 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal. It is a compact Foursquare design with appendages on opposite sides for an entrance foyer and a sun porch. The Stockman House is stucco over frame construction, unlike the original Fireproof House which was to be constructed with reinforced concrete.
For 80 years, the Stockman House was located at 311 1st Street SE, until 1989 when the Methodist Church wanted to expand its parking lot. The house was sold and moved to its current location of 530 1st Street NE, just North of the Rock Glen Historic District.
The River City Society for Historic Preservation purchased the home and beautifully restored it under the direction of Mason City architects Bergland and Cram. Upon its relocation, the house was rotated so that its former North elevation now faces West.
The Stockman House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and is now open to the public.
To read the NY Times article about the move click here. A DVD titled The Moving and Restoration of the Stockman House is also available for purhcase in the gift shop.