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Current view of Estes Park Band Shell
Courtesy of the Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission

The Estes Park Band Shell is an unusual example of Spanish Colonial Revival design. The designer of the Estes Park Band Shell was L. L. Klippel, a man with family ties to Iowa Falls, who appears to have spent some time in California. The Spanish Colonial Revival was popular in California and the southwest in the early years of the 20th century, and drew inspiration from the Spanish missions located throughout that region. Hallmarks of the style include the use of stucco for the exterior, red tile for the roof, round arch fenestration, and wrought iron gates and balconies. Following World War I it became widely used for hotels, resorts, and grand movie theaters. There are relatively few examples of the Spanish Colonial Revival style in Iowa, the majority of which were recreational facilities.

Articles first appeared in the Hardin County Citizen about the need for a band shell in Estes Park in May 1930. A committee raised $3,622 for construction, and the band shell was dedicated in the late summer of 1931 by three bands. The business community recognized the advantages of the new facility and scheduled fashion shows for September 10, 1931. A children's show took place after school and the regular adult show in the evening. In 1940 the Republican Party held a gigantic rally to hear presidential nominee Wendell Wilkie speak at the band shell.

Historic view of Estes Park Band Shell
Courtesy of the Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission

The Band Shell is a single-story building measuring 18 by 44 feet. It is located on the south edge of the park, with the stage opening to the north, toward the center of the park. Typical of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the exterior walls are finished in highly textured cream-colored stucco with brown trim. The red clay tile roof and round arch openings are also regular features of this style. The north elevation is symmetrical, with the stage flanked by projecting bell towers. The stage area was designed to hold between 50 and 60 musicians at one time.

The Estes Park Band Shell has continued to be a focal point of community activities. Band concerts are held on a regular basis, teen dances are sponsored during the summer, with Big Band dances for the adults. The River Bend Rally over the 4th of July makes extensive use of the facility for all sorts of entertainment activities.

The Estes Park Band Shell is located in Iowa Falls, in Estes Park within the central business district, between Main and North Stevens Sts., to the west and east respectively, and West Rocksylvania St., to the north. The Band Shell is accessible 24 hours a day for external viewing only.

[graphic] Collage of different scenes from Hardin County
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