Wright in Kankakee successfully completed a $1.7 million fundraising campaign to purchase the B. Harley Bradley House in mid-2020. Located at 701 S. Harrison Ave. in Kankakee, Illinois, the Bradley House is considered one of the very first "Prairie" designs by Frank Lloyd Wright. Created 120 years ago, the home is listed as a historic property with the National Park Service.
Major restoration of the site started in 2005, under the watchful eyes of Gaines and Sharon Hall. Wright in Kankakee, a nonprofit corporation, was formed in 2010 to spearhead fundraising and to purchase and operate the home.
Wright in Kankakee President Norm Strasma said that “essentially the Halls donated the property to Wright in Kankakee.” That was a $700,000 donation. “The $1 million they spent on the restoration is being returned to them without interest following 10 years of partial installments along the way,” Strasma explained.
“I’m happy that Wright in Kankakee has taken up the reins,” said Gaines Hall about the project. “Ten years ago, it was a big question mark. Wright in Kankakee took it and ran with it. They had a wonderful group of volunteers.” More than 500 donors, along with income from tours and the gift shop, contributed to the drive to purchase the home. Travelers from 48 states and 26 foreign countries have visited the home. More here.
ArchDaily's Lilly Cao writes an essay, "“The Tree that Escaped the Crowded Forest”: Lessons from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower," that presents the famous building in all its glory. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower is Wright's only realized high-rise, mixed-use buildings and one of the few extant vertically-oriented designs. Located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and commissioned by the local oil and chemical firm H. C. Price Company, the tower is significant for several reasons, including its use of materials and structural design. Some of Wright’s innovations, which were novel in the mid-twentieth century, remain useful even today." Read the entire article and see all the images here.
John Lautner is one of the most famous names in Los Angeles architecture — renowned for iconic structures such as the Chemosphere and the Sheats-Goldstein residence — but he didn’t only design homes with large budgets. In 1954, the Frank Lloyd Wright protégé built a more humble abode for his bookkeeper, Lorena Deutsch, and her husband George, a woodworker and cabinetmaker. The home is now on the market for $2.7 million, according to Dwell.
"Set in the Hollywood Hills with sweeping views across Los Angeles (including the Hollywood sign), the Deutsch House was completed early in Lautner’s career — yet the home displays many elements that would come to characterize the midcentury architect’s work.
Although George was a cabinetmaker (he worked on the house across the street, 7158 Macapa, as well as other homes in Los Angeles), Lautner tasked his favorite contractor, John de la Vaux—a master craftsman and a boat builder — to take on the project. According to Deutsch House lore, the couple were honored to have de la Vaux work on their home — and the boat builder’s handiwork gives the home its signature nautical vibe.
In 2003, after years of disrepair, a renovation stripped layers of paint from the home’s brick and wood-paneled walls to return the interiors to their original character. Originally built as a one-bedroom home, the 1,720-square-foot residence now features two bedrooms and three baths, a light-filled living room, a wood-paneled den, a kitchen with original cabinetry, and a storage area on the lower level. George’s former workshop on the lower level was converted into a second bedroom and bathroom when the home was restored." See the photos here.
The Whirling Arrow features "The Space Within – Part 5: The Purpose “ in this, the fifth and final part of the Willey House blog series by Steve Sikora.
Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s own description of the Willey House, Steve explores the concepts of Acoustical Properties, The Freedom and Shelter Paradox, The Garden, and Something Eternal.
Read the conclusion of this informative series here.
Elsie Henderson, a lifelong Pittsburgher, has passed away at the age of 107. She famously cooked for the Kaufmann family at Fallingwater and later shared her recipes on television and in print.
Henderson served as the cook, baker, and meal planner from 1947 to 1963 at Fallingwater, the family weekend retreat for Pittsburgh department store mogul Edgar J. Kaufmann, his wife, Liliane, and their son, Edgar Jr.
When Liliane Kaufmann placed a newspaper ad looking for a cook, Henderson applied. She interviewed with Mrs. Kaufmann and was hired on the spot, even though she had never had any formal culinary training. The moment dramatically changed the course of her life.
Henderson, who lived in a private room in the servants’ quarters section at Fallingwater, said she was paid “very well” for someone who worked only weekends but received wages for the entire week. Liliane Kaufmann died in 1952 and Edgar Kaufmann passed away three years after that, but Henderson stayed on as cook for Edgar Kaufmann Jr. Her time at Fallingwater ended in 1963 when he transitioned the house from a private residence to a public museum with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Henderson was the guest of honor at a private birthday luncheon celebration in September 2019. Fallingwater staff treated her to lunch and a custom birthday cake, surrounded by family and friends, while seated at the head of the same table the Kaufmanns gathered around for weekend meals at Fallingwater.
“Elsie said that before she left this Earth, she wanted to see Fallingwater again. The visit brought back good memories for her,” said Cheryl Carter, the wife of Henderson’s nephew Arthur Carter. By this time, Henderson was living at Vincentian de Marillac, a senior care home in Stanton Heights that she called home after living independently until age 105.
“The passing of Elsie on March 20 marks a tremendous loss for all of us, but through her wonderful stories and recipes, the rich culinary history she created will forever live on as a remarkable and treasured part of the Fallingwater story,” Fallingwater director Justin W. Gunther said in a statement released Monday. But Henderson’s recipes live on in The Fallingwater Cookbook: Elsie Henderson’s Recipes and Memories, written by Suzanne Martinson and published in 2008. More here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced earlier in the week that Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice and Taliesin Architects cofounder, John Rattenbury, passed away on March 28, 2021 at the age of 93.
John Rattenbury was born in Victoria, Canada on December 27, 1928. Between 1946-1949, he attended the University of British Columbia for architecture, followed by Oregon State College until 1950. During this time, John discovered a 1948 issue of Architecture Forum featuring Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. Wright’s work was so inspiring to John that he applied to Taliesin in the fall of 1950 and was accepted.
John became a vital part of the Taliesin West community and eventually took it upon himself to carefully organize Frank Lloyd Wright’s burgeoning architectural drawings.
After Frank Lloyd Wright’s death in 1959, Rattenbury helped co-found Taliesin Architects where he was able to work on Wright projects including the Marin County Civic Center in California and serving as the Project Architect in Arizona for ASU’s Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium. Read more about his life here.