Sunday, April 8, 2012

Iowa's WPA Castle Worthy of Any Grail Romance

Love or hate them, the Works Progress Administration kicked out some enduring projects during the Great Depression years. Several masonry projects located in the 42N area include the construction of city and state park structures like stone paths, stairs, shelters and scenic lookouts. Many of these stone works have survived into the 21st century with all the intended natural charm of quality design and construction. This example of a WPA project is located in Clinton, Iowa's Eagle Point city park. It is simply known as the castle.

Constructed of native limestone, the castle is a cylindrical stone tower with a winding staircase to a small top observation area. Inside the castle is a winding staircase that narrows as you approach the upper third of the structure. At some time the castle had a flagpole that stood from the interior center all the way through the stone roof and above. It appears to be long gone. The castle overlooks the Mississippi River at Clinton, north of Lock and Dam Number 13 - the so called General Zebulon Pike Lock and Dam. Today the view from the top is spectacular and probably even more so in autumn. The stone work from the same WPA project at Eagle Point Park can be found throughout the property attesting to the workmanship of the era.

Just add a few knights, a secret passage or chamber and Templar treasure and you have all the makings for a blockbuster book or movie. Know that.