DIRECTIONS: About two hours north of Des Moines on US 18 in Clear Lake (near Mason City) take North 8th Street north out of Clear Lake for 4.7 miles. When the paved road (which has turned into Grouse Avenue) turns left (west), go right (east) on gravel road (310th Street), then immediately left (north) on Gull Avenue. Follow Gull Avenue for 1/2 mile, just past the grain bins to t-intersection of a gravel road from the right and first fence row on left (west). The fence begins at the street sign for "Gull Ave." and "315th St." Huge BLACK STEEL RIM GLASSES mark the beginning of your 1/2 mile walk beside a fence between two soy bean fields to the actual BUDDY HOLLY CRASH SITE.The SURF BALLROOM also located in Clear Lake. Going back to US 18 take the BUDDY HOLLY PLACE road south into town to get there. The Surf was the site of the last performance of rock legends BUDDY HOLLY, RICHIE VALENS AND THE BIG BOPPER on Feb. 2, 1959. They were killed shortly after in a plane crash just outside Clear Lake. The Surf Ballroom open for free self tours and has been maintained and restored to its 1959 appearance, with many features connected to Holly, such as the (now push button) PAY PHONE where he and Valens made their last calls to loved ones before the stormy flight.
Photos By Gene Knudsen
© Gene Knudsen Photography