1941-1969 War to Prosperity


December 7, 1941, a day that lives in infamy, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.  Casualties total 3,000.
The United States enters World War II. Clear Lake sends men to World War II while people of Iowa support the war.

Grant Wood takes up summer residence in the “No Care No More” cottage on the North Shore and converted an old railroad station into a studio.  “Spring in Town” and “Spring in the Country”, and the lithograph, “December Afternoon” were completed by Wood while in Clear Lake this Summer.


To aid the War effort, two area construction firms, Sears Co. and Duesenberg Co. help the U.S. Army build the Alaska Highway.

The Iowa State Supreme Court handed down a decision declaring that Lake Street or First Street (now North Lakeview Drive) from Jefferson Street (now 3rd Ave., North) to North Street (now 4th Ave., North) to be a public street and not a park.  Thus ended one of Clear Lake’s bitterest civic battles.  The City had been under an injunction for 3 years not to use the street as such but the Court decision held that the City had accepted and held title to the land since 1871. 

McIntosh Farm dedicated as a state park between Clear Lake and Ventura.


Old Surf Ballroom burned down. It was rebuilt a year later across the street at a cost of $350,000 by owner, Carl Fox. During the late 40’s and 50s many famous celebrities and bands played the ballroom. They included Guy Lombard, Lawrence Welk, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey along with many others. Pat Boone, the Crew Cuts, the Diamonds, Bill Haley and the Comets and many other name entertainers were also booked and played to full houses.

Camp Tanglefoot – A parcel of land, 9 ½ acres located on Clear Lake’s south shore was purchased by the Mason City Kiwanis Club to be used as a camp for Girl Scouts. The work was done mostly by volunteers. The camp lodge was built on a hill overlooking the area. The camp was originally known as Camp Gaywood until 1995 when the name was changed to Camp Tanglefoot to reflect its location on the south shore. In August 2007, the camp celebrated 60 years of Outdoor Excellence.