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Letter to editor: Bus tour saw “great cultural treasures” in Mason City

Letter to editor from Lyell Henry of Iowa City:

On April 28, I was one of 35 members of the Jefferson Highway Association who toured the old highway (predecessor of U.S. 65) in northern Iowa.  We spent 2 – 1/2 very enjoyable hours in Mason City, where we saw some great cultural treasures, including the Park Inn, the Meredith Willson Home, the former Hotel Hanford, the Stockman House and many other prairie school houses.

We also visited another treasure – the Z-Garden at Rancho Deluxe at 500 2nd Street NE – but were surprised to find it unheralded by the city.  How fortunate that our tour planners learned of it by lucky accident, because the Z Garden was well worth seeing – a delightful example of a recognized category of “outsider” art known as “visionary folk are environments.”

Our tour members rated the Z Garden as one of the high points of the tour.  In view of the Z Garden’s intrinsic artistic merit and the enthusiasm it aroused in our group, I would strongly urge local tourism officials to promote it as another of Mason City’s must-see attractions.  It’s just too good to miss, and I’m happy that we didn’t.


Editor’s note: Read more about the Jefferson Highway Association’s visit to Mason City here.  With a photo gallery and video.

To send a letter to the editor for publication in, please email to or you may mail your letter to:
P.O. Box 21
Mason City, Iowa 50401

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oops, I meant outsider art.

I absolutely love the garden…unique, artsy, funky, historical, summer flowers, a real gem tucked away in Mason City. As a business owner, I sent many visitors to see it and the response was always favorable. It is a work of art and I get requests to send updated photos to places back east and around the US. Mr. Weaver’s park is a great example of artsider out and should be promoted.

Trout tried to get it torn down 3 or 4 years ago and had a couple of councilmen on his side. When living there we took a number of visitors to see it and all had high praises for it. We donated a few things…but for the most part it has been
Max and his family who’ve done the work and scarfedl up most of the items on display. Keep it up Weavers!!!

There are many here sir, that do appreciate what Max has done, and others who have helped by making contributions, even small ones. It’s home made, and has a strong flavor of our community’s history. It takes common things, mostly discarded, and puts them in a new light, new form.

It deserves the support of the community to which it came from.

I really enjoy the Z Garden, too! And I agree it needs more promotion by our city. The chances of that happening? Practically nil.

If the city wont why wont the citizens? If you work for or own a local business, name drop or print out little slips of paper that say what and where it is. I work for a locally owned business and talk about all the little mom and pop shops and little known places to visit with anyone that will listen. Its really not that hard.

Thats never going to happened! Why? well the so called leaders hate max! Why? He tells you like it is and they hate to be questioned!!!!

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