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Grant Wood and Hotel Tallcorn

March 5, 2011 - Mike Donahey
Information taken from Times-Republican archives for a Feb. 18 story about original Hotel Tallcorn investors reported Grant Wood had been commissioned to decorate the ballroom and the restaurant, known as the Iowa Corn room. Several online commentators wanted a follow up article about Wood’s work there. It stoked my interest too.

I asked local historian Jay Carollo and the Historical Society of Marshall County to help out. Carollo could not find evidence Wood decorated anything at the hotel. He checked a number of sources, including “Grant Wood’s Long Lost Murals” prepared by Des Moines Register staff. The always thorough Carollo checked other sources as well.

HSMC has yet to find evidence of Wood’s work there either. We do know Wood painted murals at other hotels — including one in Sioux City — owned by the Eppley Hotels Co. of Omaha, the same company which built the Tallcorn. Why Wood was commissioned to do the Tallcorn restaurant decoration and yet, no evidence of it found, is something I plan on researching further. We do know Eppley Hotels Co. sold their hotels — including the Tallcorn — to the Sheraton Co. in the 1960s. And we know a number of sources with Wood memorabilia.

Time to do more digging.


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