American Gothic no more

The most famous building in American art is crumbling away because no-one wants to live there, a fate shared by many equally eccentric Victorian cottages in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest.

The cottage, built in 1881 on the edges of Eldon, a little farming town in Iowa’s corn belt, was Wood’s inspiration.

Only later did he decide, in his own words, “to find two people who, by their severely strait-laced characters, would fit into such a home”.

He used his dentist, Dr Byron H McKeeby, and his sister, Nan Wood Graham, as models for the austere farmer and his daughter.

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