Sunday, October 30, 2011

last sunday

Last Sunday morning began with a light frost but some sun as Barb and I drove to Spring Green. She had bought tickets for us to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's famous home, farm and school there as a belated birthday treat and an even more belated congratulations on following my farm dream.
As we traveled south along Hwy 14 we passed Reeds Creek Nursery, nestled in a valley just outside Reedstown. All of the nursery trees looked as if they had been flocked. We experience magical frozen fog in the driftless region with some frequency at this time of year, spectacular and nearly impossible to describe. We were both awed.
We had participated in the DesPlaines Public Library's book discussion of Loving Frank by Nancy Horan    Barb and I had each lived most of our lives aware of the famous architect being Chicago area folks. We've been to his home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois and seen other of his famous buildings.
I wasn't entirely sure how long the drive would take. We had to gather in the visitor center by 10:15. Not to worry, we pulled into the lot at 10:08 with plenty of time for a potty stop first, as we had been warned that no facilities were available to the public on the tour.

The visitor center is built into the side of a hill overlooking the lovely Wisconsin River. I say lovely because at this location the river is gentle, wide and shallow. Even in its flood of 2008 it behaved in this region. It is particularly lovely inside looking out at the river from the dining room and gift shop, both of which we'd visit after the tour.
Our tour was to last 2 hours and is the Highlights Tour. It was a perfect first visit on a nippy autumn day.

Frank Lloyd Wright's mother's family settled in this area generations before and he had worked his uncle's farm as a young boy. Taliesin means "shining brow" and the name was used to describe his buildings, built not on the crown of the hills but lower down, akin to a brow on a face, a testament to his deep belief that buildings should look as if they are part of the land from which they spring.
FLW lived a long and troubled life. He was talented, arrogant, and always short of cash, as he rather buy beautiful things than pay his bills. Even in death he could not rest in peace. At his death in 1959, he was buried at Unity Chapel,  his mother's family plot. When his third and last wife died over 20 years later, her will stated his remains were to be removed, cremated and joined with hers. Wright's descendants refused. So his body was snatched in the night. Only his marker remains in Wisconsin.

This is the 100th anniversary of the home at Taliesin. Fortunately there is a foundation that now has the enormous responsibility to keep the 600 acre estate, properties, artifacts, buildings, and legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright alive. The school of architecture is still functioning, its students, staff and some emeritus individuals are now moved to Taliesin West in Arizona til May.

We had a most delicious lunch and enjoyed the gift shop. Each of us bought several things, and sadly did not buy everything we loved there. There were even Lego models of some of his buildings!

Tomorrow, October 31, Taliesin closes til next spring. I was delighted to be able to visit with such a good friend on a day much nicer than today's constant rain and cold wind.


  1. Looks awesome! So happy to see so many posts. I've missed your updates!

  2. Ah, sounds like a wonderful day! I very much like FLW's designs, and learned several interesting facts about him on your blog post. What a fascinating place to visit!