"Last Stop for Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens" Clear Lake by atufft

Clear Lake Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 70 photos

Cerro Gordo County, Mason City and Clear Lake

Mason City, population about 30,000 is the largest town in north central Iowa, offering travelers a noteable concentration of "Prairie School" architecture, the most famous building of which is a hotel design by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909. About 10 miles north of Mason City, once connected by the historic 19th century electric Iowa Traction Railroad, which is still in some operation today, is located a large spring fed lake, known as Clear Lake. The town beside the lake has some 8,000 residents, with about double that number in summer. The lakeside cottages are summer homes for folks as far away as Chicago and Des Moines. I stumbled upon the town of Clear Lake when I stopped my truck at the Pilot Truck stop at the junction of I-35 and IA-122. The lake and town aren't very evident from the interstate freeway, and it's collection of corporate junk food restaurants. Looking for a locally owned restaurant for breakfast, I decided to walk the mile into town, so it was completely by accident that I discovered the beauty of this sizeable lake and the town beside it. It was also completely by accident that this was the last stop for musical idols Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. After a performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, the musical band's private aircraft crashed into a field nearby town. This event is memorialized in town by a variety of ways.

The images for these pages were taken with my 2mpx iPhone camera, so please excuse the less than ideal technical results.

  • Last visit to Clear Lake: May 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (2)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Alan, your story and pictures are great! I enjoy reading your description! Thanx! ><><><

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    Hey, there's even an "Opera House" in one of your photos!


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