Welcome to the walter HOUSE at cedar rock

Lord and Lady Pentland, Frank Lloyd Wright, Olgivana Wright, Agnes and Lowell Walter celebrate the completion of the home around the council fire at Cedar Rock.

Lord and Lady Pentland, Frank Lloyd Wright, Olgivana Wright, Agnes and Lowell Walter celebrate the completion of the home around the council fire at Cedar Rock.

 

THE HOUSE

The Lowell and Agnes Walter House in Quasqueton, Iowa is a beautiful example of a well-preserved signature Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian estate.  It exemplifies many of the ideals Wright was incorporating into his Usonian designs as he created his own version of the average American’s home.  At Cedar Rock, Wright realized the dream of Mr. and Mrs. Walter, to show the world that something of distinct architectural beauty, simplicity, and sophistication could be created and enjoyed here, in Iowa.  


THE DESIGN

One of Frank Lloyd Wright's most complete designs, nearly everything at Cedar Rock bears the architect's imprint.  Wright designed the furniture, selected the carpets, chose the draperies and even picked out the accessories.


THE STYLE

Cedar Rock is an important example of the Usonian residential style created by Wright, characterized by its provisions for living simply and in harmony with nature.  Everything about the house is compact and efficient.  Natural light fills the house.  Broad overhangs with upturned edges soften the sunlight and shade the glass walls.  There are openings in the overhangs covered with vines for summer shade.  Clerestory windows or skylights are incorporated in each room where they have dual duties of brightening interior spaces, and releasing hot air trapped near the ceiling.  


LOWELL AND AGNES WALTER

Lowell Walter grew up in the small town of Quasqueton, Iowa.  At age 17, after graduation from Quasqueton Public High School, Lowell attended the Capitol City Commercial College in Des Moines where he later met and married Agnes Nielsen of Humboldt, Iowa.

Together, Lowell and Agnes purchased the Iowa Road Building Company which held the patent on a bituminous oil seal coating used on gravel roads at the time.  Lowell and Agnes owned the company for 37 years during a period of tremendous growth in the building of Iowa roads before selling the business and the patent to their employees in December of 1944.

After selling the company to their employees, Lowell and Agnes began to plan their retirement.  The Walters, who were patrons of the arts, contacted renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a three-season home on a picturesque parcel of land near Lowell's hometown of Quasqueton. Construction began in 1948 and the Walters moved into the home just two years later in July 1950.  That fall, Frank Lloyd Wright, his wife Olgivanna and students of the Taliesin Fellowship visited Lowell and Agnes at Cedar Rock and dined on roasted leg of lamb at the council fire. 

Lowell and Agnes enjoyed Cedar Rock for over 30 years.  Mr. Walter passed away in 1981, leaving the home to his wife.  The Walters didn’t have any children so in their estate planning they created a provision, when the surviving spouse had no further use of the home it was to be donated to the people of Iowa.  Mrs. Walter donated their home Iowa Conservation Commission in 1982, and passed away in 1986 at the age of 90.


FRIENDS OF CEDAR ROCK

When Lowell and Agnes Walter envisioned their home, they wanted it to be symbol of how big dreams can be attained when they are fueled by hard work. They wanted guests and visitors to be as amazed as they were by the simplicity, efficiency, and natural beauty of Wright’s architecture.

Today, the Friends of Cedar Rock strive to preserve this unique and culturally important architectural masterpiece. Contributions from visitors help support our education, restoration and preservation programs, and ensure that Lowell and Agnes Walter's home will continue to engage and inspire visitors for generations to come.


VISITING THE WALTER HOUSE

Cedar Rock is open to the public May to October, Thursday through Sunday. Tours of the home are available on those days by reservation or walk-in. Suggested donation to tour the home is $5.00 per person. Tour donations may be made online. For more information and to reserve your tour of the Walter Estate, please phone 319-934-3572 or email: cedar_rock@dnr.iowa.gov