- Mason City, Iowa
Mason City, Iowa — City — Coordinates: Coordinates: Country United States State Iowa County Cerro Gordo Area – Total 26.2 sq mi (67.8 km2) – Land 25.8 sq mi (66.8 km2) – Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2) Elevation 1,129 ft (344 m) Population (2010) – Total 28,079 – Rank 16th in Iowa – Density 1,071.7/sq mi (413.8/km2) Time zone Central (CST) (UTC−6) – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5) ZIP codes 50401, 50402, 50467 Area code(s) 641 FIPS code 19-50160 GNIS feature ID 0458840
Mason City is the county seat of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States. The population was 28,079 in the 2010 census, a decline from 29,172 in the 2000 census.  The Mason City Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Cerro Gordo and Worth counties.
The region around what would later be first called Shibboleth was a summer home to the Sioux and Winnebago natives. The town of Shibboleth was settled in 1853 by John Long, Joseph Hewitt and George Brentner where the waters of the Winnebago River and Willow Creek come together. The town changed names several times, from Shibboleth, to Masonic Grove, to Masonville, and finally to what it is known as today, Mason City.  It is commonly referred to as the 'River City', as the city grew up centered on the Winnebago river. 
In 1854 John McMillin opened the first store and Dr. Silas Card opened the first medical practice in the area. The first schoolhouse was established in a log cabin by Lizzie Thompson in 1856. In 1857 the United States Post Office Department started service to the town. Mason City was named as the county seat in 1858.
Mason City, above all else is known for its outstanding musical heritage, consistently producing successful performers and educators. Mason City's "favorite son" Meredith Willson grew up in Mason City, having played in the Mason City Symphonic Band as a student at Mason City High School. Willson's crowning achievement was the famous musical The Music Man; many of the characters in it were taken from people Willson knew from his childhood in Mason City. The show first opened on Broadway in 1957 and became a hit, with a three year run at the Majestic Theatre, followed by an additional 1,375 performances at the Broadway Theatre. The Music Man has received numerous awards, including 9 Tony Awards in 1957.
Mason City's longitude and latitude coordinates
in decimal form are 43.148747, −93.201916. 
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.2 square miles (68 km2), of which 25.8 square miles (67 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (1.45%) is water.
Census Pop. %± 1870 1,183 — 1880 2,510 112.2% 1890 4,007 59.6% 1900 6,747 68.4% 1910 11,230 66.4% 1920 20,065 78.7% 1930 23,304 16.1% 1940 27,080 16.2% 1950 27,980 3.3% 1960 30,642 9.5% 1970 30,379 −0.9% 1980 30,144 −0.8% 1990 29,040 −3.7% 2000 29,172 0.5% 2010 28,079 −3.7% Iowa Data Center 
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,172 people, 12,368 households, and 7,507 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,131.3 people per square mile (436.7/km2). There were 13,029 housing units at an average density of 505.3 per square mile (195.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.40% White, 1.17% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.07% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.45% of the population.
There were 12,368 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,852, and the median income for a family was $45,160. Males had a median income of $32,451 versus $21,756 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,899. About 7.2% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.
Mason City has a very diverse employment base covering multiple sectors of the economy including Manufacturing, Health, Financial Services, Technology and Education, with no one sector or employer dominating the market.
The largest employer is Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. Other major industry includes door manufacturer Curries/Graham Company, Woodhardbor Cabinetry Manufacturers, Principal Financial, Cargill Kitchen Solutions and the Kraft Foods plant that produces the nation's entire supply of refrigerated ready-to-eat Jell-O gelatin and Jell-O pudding snacks. Mason City is also a major production center for Portland Cement. In November 2007, Reyes Holding / Martin-Brower opened a distribution facility serving McDonald in 5 states. 
Arts and Culture
Events and festivals
Every year Mason City High School performs "The Mohawk Follies", which is the longest running high school variety show in the United States. In this show students will sing, play music, and perform skits.
In late May or early June Mason City holds an annual celebration of its musical heritage called The North Iowa Band Festival. Bands from across the midwest compete during the parade to be named the best band. The home band, Mason City High School Marching Band, does not compete but does perform in the parade.
- Architecture and the Prairie School
Mason City is widely known for its collection of Prairie School architecture, the largest concentration of any city in Iowa. At least 32 houses and one commercial building were built in the Prairie Style between 1908 and 1922, 17 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and eight more are contributing properties to a historic district.
The first two Prairie structures, the Dr. G.C. Stockman House (1908) and the Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank Buildings (1909–1910) were both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The hotel and bank, a mixed-use development at the corner of State and Federal Avenues, was the first to be commissioned by local attorneys James E. E. Markley and James E. Blythe. Within a year, Wright was hired to design the Stockman House by Markley's neighbor.
Both the Park Inn Hotel and Stockman House suffered from neglect and unsympathetic alterations before they were saved by community organizations. In 1989, the Stockman House was moved four blocks to prevent its demolition; it was subsequently restored and opened to the public by the River City Society for Historic Preservation. Likewise, Wright on the Park, Inc. began restoration on the Park Inn Hotel in 2005 and the former City National Bank building in 2007. The organization will reopen both buildings as a boutique hotel in August 2011. The Park Inn Hotel is last remaining of the few hotels that Wright completed during his career and is considered a prototype for Wright's Imperial Hotel.
The Rock Glen and Rock Crest National Historic district is a small enclave of single-family homes situated along the banks of Willow Creek five blocks east of downtown. It is the largest collection of prairie style homes in a natural setting in the world. It features both Prairie School and Usonian design. Five of these houses were designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, two by Francis Barry Byrne, and others by William Drummond, Einar Broaten, and Curtis Besinger.
In addition to Prairie Style architecture, Mason City is home to extensive Victorian, Craftsman, and Bungalow style homes, as well as historic commercial structures dates from between 1892 and 1940, including the Brick and Tile Building at the intersection of State and Delaware Streets.
The Mason City Public Library was designed by Chicago architects Holabird and Root in 1939.
The Len Jus Building on North Federal Avenue has an extremely rare sheet-metal facade, it had been placed on the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance’s Most Endangered list because of its poor repair and indifferent ownership, but is now being rehabilitated by the new owner.
Mason City has some history of minor league sports teams despite its relatively small size.
The North Iowa Bulls hockey team will begin play in Mason City during the 2011-2012 NA3HL season. The North Iowa Outlaws junior hockey team began play in the North American Hockey League in 2005. They were in Mason City until 2010. The former North Iowa Huskies played in the United States Hockey League until 1999.
College Football Hall of Fame Coach Barry Alvarez lead Mason City High School to the 1978 Class 4A state football championship with a 15-13 victory over Dubuque Hempstead.
River City Rugby Football Club was established in Mason City in 1972. The Club competes in two separate two month seasons, April and May in the Spring, and September and October in the Fall. The Club will celebrate it's 40th Anniversary in June of 2012. Over 250 players have played for the Club since it first began. The Club competes against teams from Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska in the Midwest Division 3.
The Mason City Community School District has a motto of "Quality Education in a Caring & Responsive Environment" 
- Public schools
Harding Elementary, Hoover Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Lincoln Intermediate (for 5th and 6th graders), John Adams Middle School (7-8 grade), Mason City High School, Mason City Alternative High School, Madison Early Childhood Center, Washington Early Childhood Center,
- Private schools
Newman Catholic Elementary/Middle School, Newman Catholic High School, and North Iowa Christian School.
- Advanced education
- Movies and documentaries
The town is featured prominently in the first episode of the 12-part documentary film How Democracy Works Now.
- KCMR FM 97.9 - Religious (TLC Broadcasting)
- KIAI FM 93.9 - Country (Three Eagles Communications)
- KLKK FM 103.7 - Classic Rock (Coloff Media)
- KGLO AM 1300 - Talk (Three Eagles Communications)
- KLSS FM 106.1 - Hot AC (Three Eagles Communications)
- KRIB AM 1490 - Oldies (Three Eagles Communications)
- KSMA FM 98.7 - Country (Coloff Media)
- KUNY FM 91.5 - Iowa Public Radio and the (University of Northern Iowa)
- KJCY FM 95.5 Christian (Kinship Radio Broadcasting)
- Globe Gazette - Daily newspaper
- North Iowa Today - Area news website
The majority of the city is served by Iowa Highway 122, and U.S. Highway 65. U.S. Highway 18 now bypasses the city to the south. Interstate 35 (eight miles to the west) serves the city as well.
Mason City is home to the Iowa Traction Railroad. The IATR is one of the last surviving electric interurban railroads in the U. S., and the only one that still uses electric locomotives to haul freight in regular service.
Mason City also is served by the Canadian Pacific Railway which owns the Milwaukee Road's former northern Iowa main line and by the Union Pacific Railroad which took over the Rock Island "spine line" from Kansas City to Minneapolis and several former Minneapolis and St, Louis and Chicago Great Western lines. The Iowa Northern now operates some of these lines.
The city also has a municipal airport, from which Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper took off on the night of February 3, 1959, after a concert at the Surf Ballroom in nearby Clear Lake, Iowa, only to crash their plane in a historic event later referred to as the Day the Music Died.
- Bil Baird - puppeteer
- Tanna Frederick - actress and ocean conservationist
- Walter Burley Griffin, architect
- Jeff Horner, basketball player
- Jodi Huisentruit, anchorwoman and missing person
- Jack Jenney, jazz musician
- Timothy Lannon (born 1951) Creighton University President 
- Tim Laudner, Major League Baseball catcher
- Joe Lillard, NFL running back
- Hanford MacNider (1889–1968) Ambassador to Canada, Brigadier-General in the US Army 
- Jack Rule, Jr., professional golfer
- Scott Sandage (born 1964) historian and author 
- Frank Secory, MLB left fielder
- Ralph Senensky, television director and writer
- Meredith Willson - composer and playwright
Mason City, Iowa, and Montegrotto Terme, Italy, created a Sister City relationship in the spring of 2005. This relationship creates a bridge between the two cities that citizens can use to build new and lasting friendships and relationships.
- MacNider Art Museum
- Collaborative Summer Library Program
- ^ a b c "Data from the 2010 Census". State Data Center of Iowa. http://www.iowadatacenter.org/archive/2011/02/feb10. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- ^ "Mason City Chamber of Commerce". History. http://www.masoncityia.com/html/history.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- ^ "Mason City Community Profile". History. http://www.masoncity.net/pView.aspx?id=824&catid=54. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- ^ a b "Mason City Portal". History. http://www.masoncity.net/pView.aspx?id=827&catid=54. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- ^ Panning, John A. (2009). "Iowa". The Prairie School Traveler. http://prairieschooltraveler.com/html/ia/ia.html. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- ^ "IOWA - Cerro Gordo County". National Register of Historic Places. http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/IA/Cerro+Gordo/state.html. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- ^ McCoy, Robert. "Frank Lloyd Wright". Wright in Iowa. GlobeGazette.com. http://www.wrightiniowa.com/. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- ^ Douglas, Martin (2 September 1993). "Averting a Wright Wrong". The New York Times (Mason City, IA). http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/02/garden/averting-a-wright-wrong.html?pagewanted=all?pagewanted=all. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- ^ Skipper, John (1 April 2006). "Restorers will buy, renovate Wright's bank". GlobeGazette.com (Mason City, IA). http://www.globegazette.com/news/local/article_ab18ce9f-eb3f-5ef5-9e4b-1c48369c828b.html. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- ^ Johnson, Dick (14 September 2007). "Wright on the Park completes purchase of former City National Bank building". GlobeGazette.com (Mason City, IA). http://www.globegazette.com/news/article_f84065a7-fed9-52bd-bb6c-e68704952066.html. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- ^ "The Park Inn Hotel & City National Bank Building: A Brief History". The Historic Park Inn Hotel. Wright on the Park, Inc.. http://www.wrightonthepark.org/history. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- ^ "Library History - Mason City Public Library". http://www.mcpl.org/library-information/history2. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- ^ Cedar Rapids Gazette, Cedar Rapids historic buildings make 'most endangered' list: http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090124/NEWS/701249934/1002/NEWS
- ^ Iowa’s Most Endangered Properties, http://www.iowapreservation.org/endangered.php
- ^ http://globegazette.com/news/local/article_cf5cc754-781c-11e0-8ac3-001cc4c002e0.html
- ^ "Mason City Community School District". home page. http://www.masoncityschools.org/index.html. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- ^ Johnson, Richard (October 9,10). "Mason City native Lannon named Creighton president". Mason City Globe Gazette. http://www.globegazette.com/news/local/article_87417aaa-bd32-11df-b40d-001cc4c002e0.html. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- ^ "The Political Graveyard". MacNider, Hanford. http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/maclafferty-madar.html#RKB1DEU1P. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- ^ "Born Losers book website". Scott Sandage. http://www.born-losers.com/author/author.html. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Mason City IowaThe original River City Portal style website including city government.
- Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Mason City Chamber of Commerce
- Mason City Community School District
- Mason City Public Library website
- Wright in Iowa
- KRIB News/Sports website
- City Data Comprehensive Statistical Data and more about Mason City
- Mason City travel guide from Wikitravel
Municipalities and communities of Cerro Gordo County, IowaCounty seat: Mason City Cities Townships Footnotes
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
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