Saturday, 16 June 2007
The Home of Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank built his own home on 600 acres in Spring Green, Wisconsin. We went there today and also spent an hour underground at the Cave of the Blue Mounds. Our cave tour included no less than three screaming babies. Fortunately, I have experience with screaming babies.
Frank married and had two children. He left them all in Chicago and moved into the new home in 1911 with another woman. She died in a fire which destroyed most of the house in 1925. Two of her children and four guests also perished in the fire, which was judged to be an arson. Frank rebuilt the home, met another woman, 30 years younger, and had more children.
He is America’s most famous architect. He was born in 1867 and died in 1959. He designed over 1,000 buildings during his 70 year career. Many of these are designated historic landmarks.
The house contains rugs, lamps, chairs and tables designed by Wright. There is little here that he did not design. You can’t take any pictures of the inside.
One strange design feature is that many of the entryways and corridors are less than six feet tall so that I have to crouch to enter. He was apparently a diminutive man. He also did not waste time in the design of bedroom or bathroom features, believing these were places you took care of business and got out. His own bed is very tiny and over in a corner.
“Fellowship” members live on the grounds. They can live here for life. To become a member you must first be an apprentice. No amount of probing of our guide revealed any additional information about the nature of the "Fellowship", which is separate from the “Foundation”.
Today is our son’s birthday. He is 38. We leave messages on all his telephones. I bought him a 4-gig telephone memory card last week. I remember when a 10-meg hard drive was a big deal. I remember storing data on decks of punched cards and paper tape. I remember $900 personal calculators that could add and subtract. I remember mechanical adding machines...Sigh!...What a fossil!
Frank's house needs a lot of work. The exterior plaster has a lot of cracks which are developing into major problems. I could fix it all myself in about a year. Two years, if you include the interior repainting. Apparently Fellowship duties do not include mere maintenance.
We are parked in a little RV park surrounded by a cornfield. There are only two other campers. The office is in a little liquor store next door. They have a good selection of wine and Wisconsin cheese. Large stuffed fish are mounted on the walls. The ammo is behind the counter, but the liquor is on a shelf next to the exit door. In Tampa, shop-lifting would be a problem with this setup. The young man at the register has the slow, dreamy voice of a heavy pot user. He tells me he just lost a close friend. I tell him I'm sorry and think about close friends lost.
Here are some pictures of Frank's house.