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.
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
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.