The Midwest’s Identity Crisis

Posted on March 28th, 2013 by

A provocative article in MinnPost points out the Midwest’s feelings of inferiority relative to the East Coast and West Coast. Frank Bures describes the many architectural and literary treasures of the Midwest and notes that back a few generations, there wasn’t the same feeling of inferiority. Mark Twain, Cass Gilbert, Grant Wood, Frank Lloyd Wright (and many more) drew upon their Midwest roots and played a major role in the nation’s cultural life, never apologizing for being from the Midwest. Small towns and cities around the Midwest have remarkable architectural treasures, but they often go unheeded and overlooked. Close to Gustavus, Owatonna, Minnesota is home to a Louis Sullivan bank that is celebrated in architecture books. Fortunately, some struggling towns and small cities in the Midwest are rediscovering their cultural heritage and sense of place. Mason City, Iowa has refurbished a downtown hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. New Ulm, MN has restored its 1870s Grand Hotel as an arts center, and Dubuque, Iowa has restored the gracious Hotel Julien and added an art museum and riverfront trails along the Mississippi.


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