Music Man Square
A must-see location of Mason City, Iowa, Music Man Square is an important part of the city’s history. This is the birthplace of the movie "Music Man" and the late, great composer, Robert Meredith Willson. Music Man Square was constructed in his honor and serves to educate the public on the wonders of music and seeks to enrich the cultural environment of the community.
Backstory and Context
Featuring his original home, a statue dedicated in his honor, and a central museum, Music Man’s Square’s main goal is the education of visitors in the history and celebration of music. The area is not directly owned by the City of Mason City and is instead supported by the Mason City Foundation through memberships and donations.
Robert Meredith Willson (1902-1984) was born in Mason City, Iowa and had an immensely successful career in the music and entertainment industry as a musician, composer, conductor, arranger, author, and radio personality. While growing up in Mason City, Willson showed great musical promise. After his Mason City High School graduation, he went to New York City. Willson made concert appearances around the country with his wife, Rini, herself a star in the concert, radio and opera business.
Willson is best remembered for his Broadway musical "The Music Man," for which he wrote the script, lyrics and music. This famous musical was a tribute to his hometown since the fictitious "River City", featured in the Broadway hit, was based on places and people in Mason City. "The Music Man" became one of the five longest running musical plays in Broadway history and won several prestigious awards. The play has been revived both on Broadway and in the movies - a Walt Disney production of "The Music Man" stars Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth.
Willson also wrote symphonies and many hit songs including "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" and "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You". Other famous works by Willson include two other musicals, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" and "Here's Love."
Meredith Willson is honored annually at the North Iowa Band Festival while plus a $10 million attraction, The Music Man Square and Meredith Willson Boyhood Home in Mason City, stands tribute to his life and his love of music. He will be remembered throughout the world for his famous melodies, but he will live on in Mason City, Iowa as "The Music Man of River City."
The bridge is on 2nd St. SE in Mason City over Willow Creek connecting River Heights Drive and South Connecticut Ave. Named in honor of Meredith Willson, Mason City native and internationally renowned composer, this bridge spans across Willow Creek and is featured on the Prairie School Architectural Tour / Historical Walking Tour.
About Us. The Music Man Square. n d. Accessed October 04, 2018. https://themusicmansquare.org/about-us/.