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Guthrie Center

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The John W. Foster house is most appropriately located on Prairie Street (at 706), for it is a version of the large brick-sheathed Prairie houses popularized by the Chicago architect George W. Maher. In the Foster house the architect Henry K. Holsman, also of Chicago, borrowed from the classical tradition while working within the avant-garde Prairie movement. The house has a number of points of similarity to Frank Lloyd Wright's 1892 Winslow house in River Forest, Illinois. A projecting band of brick connects the window sills of the upper windows and is carried around them. The windows are all horizontal double-hung units that appreciably help to suggest the horizontality of the prairie. The pier-supported entrance porch has a simple rectangular cornice with dentils.

Eight miles northeast of Guthrie Center is Spring Brook State Park, established in 1926 and now containing 786 acres. This is a park that should be experienced for its rustic architecture. The principal picnic shelter (c. 1930) is a stone structure whose rear wall contains a segmental arched fireplace. The side walls step down to the ground, and the front of the building is supported by log posts. The posts at the sides have a pair of large struts; those in the middle, only one. Spring Brook State Park may be reached by traveling 6.2 miles north of Guthrie Center on Iowa 25; then right (east) for 1 mile on Iowa 384.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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