No, not the kind that rides a horse and ropes stray calves. The kind that trails an architecture walking tour group with people about to really see our city. I am a Wrangler because I love to witness the look on people’s faces the moment they notice architecture and building details. I never tire of standing along the Des Moines Riverwalk hearing about the City Beautiful movement of the early 1900’s and why several grand buildings stand tall and face the river. Each local architect leading a tour shares his or her own perspective and interests around building design and history. No matter how many times I stand in front of the my personal favorite, the art deco classic US Bank building on Walnut, I hear a new story or see a new detail in the craftsmanship. Did you know it was originally planned to be at least 16 stories high? In 1932, they finished it off where it is now when the banking industry was not doing so well.
As a Wrangler, I’ve been on the four main walking tours of Des Moines offered by IAF, private custom tours, our Eat | Drink | Architecture tour and even a bus tour to Mason City. I have not been on these tours just once, some of them I have been on so many times that I turn drives through Des Moines with my family and friends into fun fact trips through the city!
The Wrangler in me has started taking this activity up in any city that I visit. Have some downtime on your next outing? Look around at the buildings. See if you can tell what is the oldest, what has been added on, what is newer and the very newest. Can you tell if the same style is through the whole area or does it change? Each state has a national register of historic places which is a great place to start. Recently, I found myself at the Fayette County City Hall in West Union. As I am walking up to this grand building from the early 1900’s, I wonder if I am the only one who is looking at the detail on the handrails and over the doors. I know I was the only one taking a picture of the stained glass dome from the inside!
So, I am a Wrangler and proud of it. The foundation has volunteer local architects who lead the walking tours and Wranglers who are enthusiasts of architecture helping make sure guests have a great experience. I love every minute of it. When that email comes out that they need Wranglers, sign me up! See you this summer on a walking tour.