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On the north side of Main Street within the two-block downtown area is the Mershon and Rhodes Building (c. 1879). Though some changes have taken place, the metal front of this building remains intact. The second floor has a small central bay, and the surface is virtually paneled in Corinthian pilasters.

Some 6 miles south of Mechanicsville is the large and impressive Alexander Buchanan farmhouse (1883). Buchanan, who came to Iowa in 1841, was a successful farmer (as well as a developer who laid out the town of Buchanan), and his dwelling reads more as a suburban “mansion” than a rural house. The two-story house is of brick, with extensive stone trim carried as horizontal bands across the facade. The square tower held within the fold of two wings, and its angular, brittle quality place it within the Eastlake style. The various gable ends exhibit elaborate designs in open and closed woodwork, and small gabled dormers dot the roof surfaces. Although the plans for the house exist (they are in the collection of the Iowa State Historical Society in Iowa City), they do not bear the name of the architect. The house can be reached by traveling south from Mechanicsville on route X40, 5.5 miles; the house is on the east side of the road.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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