History Welcome

The Story of Waggoner and Waggoner, the architects who designed the historic Mason City Airport Terminal

 Waggoner and Waggoner Local Work

Chronology of the Mason City Airport Terminal

20th Century Architectural History in Mason City

Hansen and Waggoner and Buddy Holly

Airport Home

The Mason City Airport has a close association with a firm of local architects. The 1966 terminal was designed by the Mason City architecture firm Waggoner and Waggoner. Waggoner and Waggoner were one of Mason City’s most prominent architectural firms for many years. The firm has a century-long history stretching from Hansen and Waggoner, founded in 1924, to Clear Lake—based ATURA Architecture.

Hansen and Waggoner was founded by Harry Hansen and Karl Waggoner. The two men came to Mason City from Waterloo, Iowa in 1924. They had worked for some architectural practices there but set out to start a firm of their own in Mason City. Hansen and Waggoner designed some of Mason City’s best-known buildings, including the original comfort station in Central Park, some of Mason City’s churches, many of Mason City’s school buildings, and a number of houses. Harry Hansen died in 1955, and in 1957, Thomas Waggoner joined his father Karl as a partner in the firm, which was renamed Waggoner and Waggoner.

Like the previous iteration of the firm, Waggoner and Waggoner designed many important buildings around Mason City. They served as the chief architects of John Adams Middle School, Mason City High School, The Globe Gazette newspaper office, The Mutual Federal Savings and Loan Office (now Mason City City Hall), and the new airport terminal built in 1966. The firm was rooted in Mason City and worked to design some of its most enduring and important buildings from the mid and late 20th century. The company reorganized again as Waggoner, Mahaffey, and Bowman in 1972.

Karl Waggoner passed away in 1965, after 42 years as a practicing architect in Mason City. Tom Waggoner died in 2022. Their legacy is left standing across Mason City. Waggoner and Waggoner designed more than 130 projects in Mason City. While organized as Hansen and Waggoner, the firm designed close to 350 projects in Mason City. This does not include projects they did in other cities in Iowa, in other states, or that they did after 1972. The Waggoner family have made huge contributions to architecture in Mason City and across Iowa. They are one of the region’s most important architectural firms and families. This website chronicles a small part of their catalog of buildings across Mason City.

Why is This Webpage Here?

The decision was recently made to replace the former airport terminal building with a newer facility that could better serve Mason City and the North Iowa area. Because the project used Federal government funds, it required a review for effects to historic properties. These reviews are required for most federally funded projects based on the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act. When a historical consultant surveyed and researched the airport terminal, they determined the building was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s list of historic properties. Because of this, it would be necessary to mitigate the effects of removing the terminal building. Consultation between national, state, and local stakeholders agreed that documenting the terminal and the other works of the firm who designed it was the best way to mitigate the effects of losing the building. This process is called Section 106 Review after the section of the 1966 law which outlines this process. You can read more about the process here: (NPS, ACHP). The FAA and Mason City Municipal Airport Commission, in conjunction with the consulting firm of Tallgrass Archaeology LLC, worked to produce a study of the airport, Waggoner and Waggoner architects, and to create this website as a form of mitigation for the loss of the terminal complex.