Down Memory Lane
Aubrey LaFoy

Templar Park

Posted Saturday, October 31, 2009, at 5:45 PM
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  • I have a brief, fleeting memory of visiting Templar Park as a young child. We were visiting my grandfather's cabin on West Lake on a warm summer night. For reasons unknown to me, my family piled on a friend's boat in Spirit Lake and docked at Templar Park just before sunset. This would have been between about 1965, making me about 10 years old.

    I have no recollection of why were there, except perhaps to see the massive building prior to demolition. To a 10-year-old it was Just Another Old Place.

    Two images remain very clearly in my mind: The immense, narrow hallways that seemed to extend forever. There were many doors open on the west side rooms, so the hall was intermittently flooded with warm, orange sunlight.

    The other image is of one of the rooms, which one would today call Spartan -- a heavy single-bed cot (with the frame painted a groovy mid-century tourquise, as I recall) and worn, creaky wooden furniture. Radiators had so much paint on them, I wonder now how much heat they actually radiated.

    The smell was almost indescribable, being a musty combination of dust, mildew and old age.

    It is a shame to see something as iconic as Templar Park be torn down, but progress is constant, even in the Iowa Great Lakes.

    -- Posted by JonathanReed on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 11:15 AM
  • I collect postcards of the Iowa Great Lakes Area, with a subsection on the Templar Park. I recently purchased a postcard titled "Rotunda, Templar Park Summer Home" As it does not say Spirit Lake, I am curious to know if it is from here, or where there other Templar Park Homes.

    I can provide a scan, but couldn't figure out how to insert one here.


    -- Posted by Skiplndn on Wed, Dec 30, 2009, at 2:17 AM
  • I remember growing up/spending summers at Templar Park. This was in the mid to late 70's. Best memories of my life. I remember the hotel, I remember the auction as it was torn down. I remember the pavilion still standing. I hope it is still there?

    Our cottage is still in the family but I have not been back in years.

    -- Posted by SummerinTemplar on Fri, May 9, 2014, at 10:15 PM
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