Years ago, when 1000 Friends of Iowa was still taking shape, the Joslyn Art Museum generously gave our organization permission to use Grant Wood’s Stone City, Iowa, 1930 as our logo. This was Wood’s first major landscape, painted in the same year as his now famous American Gothic.
Understood in this tranquil, idealized scene of life in harmony with nature, was the knowledge that Stone City itself reflected the transitions brought about in a rural community by industrialization.
Located on the Wapsipinicon River twenty-six miles from Cedar Rapids, Stone City was a boomtown gone bust. It was built on the success of its limestone quarries, and laid to rest by the development of Portland cement.
The land, Wood seems to suggest, has gone back to a purer purpose of grazing animals and growing crops. The village became the site of a summer artist’s colony he ran from 1932 to 1933.