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Fayette, Iowa

“But, but, we have to have a parking lot or people won’t come downtown!”

I’m sure someone said that when it came time to do something with the vacant lot that was left on the west side of the main street of Fayette, Iowa, a beautiful small town in northeastern Iowa. But cooler heads prevailed.

But if you look closely, you might notice that the excellent example of sensitive in-fill, which recreated and respects the original Nineteenth Century street wall, was almost certainly built by the local institution of higher learning, Upper Iowa University, which operates its campus store out of the new building.

The Italianate storefronts fit in well with the new construction, and the overall feeling of the main street is preserved. No missing teeth, as I have sometimes described such situations.

There is also this nice Beaux-Arts bank buiding

And then, wow, there is this still perfectly preserved wood frame “opera house,” which while common throughout Iowa, are usually built of brick. For this one to survive in wood is really special and rare.

 

The original paint scheme has been carefully recreated, and I’m sure provides a great meeting hall for the community.

The actual university campus is quite elegant, with your Italianate main building and cupola, though the full size statue on the top is a bit more rare.

There are beautiful Queen Anne style houses around the university, probably built for and still inhabited by professors.

And then we come across this fabulous example of what I would call Carpenter Gothic, which is rare in St. Louis, but does exist in a couple of examples, as I wrote a couple of years ago. It is really a form of the Gothic Revival.

And then, I saw one, but two, houses, that just blew my mind. Someone had a really great idea for a Gothic Revival house, and decided to make two of them. I am glad they did.

Above and below is the westernmost one.

And here is its brother, to the east, which was clearly built by the same builder. Perhaps the two houses were really owned by two brothers or married sisters?

Then the agricultural world starts just outside of town, where farm fields intersperse with woodlands.

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