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Restaurant Building

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c. 1955. 3418 5th Ave. (US 20, east side of town)

Here is an adventuresome roadside building that captures much of the spirit of the decade after World War II. The roadside frontage of the building, which was once a restaurant, consists of two elongated boxes, one on top of the other. The lower box is sheathed in cast fake stone, except for the entrance area in the center. This has a covering of shiplap (now weathered). The upper box has dramatic walls that cant outward at the top. The center of the upper box continues the same shiplap as below, and the rest of the upper canted box is also covered with shiplap. The pair of windows on each side of the entrance door within the lower box are in the shape of elongated triangles with one apex cut off. Finally, the real substance of the enclosed space, which lies hidden behind these two stacked boxes, is a metal Quonset hut. Now deserted and constrained behind a fence, the building makes an effective and romantic highway ruin.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Restaurant Building", [Fort Dodge, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 393-393.

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