Magnificent Penwern

"Penwern," Frank Lloyd Wright's Fred B. Jones House (1900) is framed through the entrance to the boathouse on Delavan Lake. (c) Mark Hertzberg

“Penwern,” Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fred B. Jones House (1900) is framed through the entrance to the boathouse on Delavan Lake. (c) Mark Hertzberg

Sue and John Major, stewards of Penwern, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fred B. Jones summer cottage, boathouse, gate lodge, and stable (1900-1903), are pleased to announce the launch of a website for the estate. The url is www.penwern.com

The Majors have commissioned me to write a book for them about Jones and Penwern. It is an exciting challenge because we have been unable to find any extant letters between Messrs. Jones, Wright, and/or Henry Wallis, who was the developer who apparently led Jones and three other Chicago-based Delavan Lake clients to Mr. Wright.

I was also asked by At the Lake magazine to write about Mr. Wright’s work on Delavan Lake. The article was published this week. There is a link to it on the website. The article is footnoted, because I want to verify every assertion about Penwern, rather than just accept what has been written about it before. I have found a number of misconceptions about Penwern, including the the idea that Penwern means “great house” in Gaelic. It is Welsh or Cornish, and does not mean “great house” (you’ll have to read the article and footnotes to learn more!).

As I invite you to go to the new website, which has a rich gallery of historic and contemporary photos of the estate, I leave you with a photo of Mr. Jones and Dora Mortimer, a friend or his housekeeper (another mystery we are trying to unravel!) on their around the world trip in 1924.

Pyramids

Mr. Wright’s Birthday Dinner at Hillside Dining Room

(c) Mark Hertzberg

Several hundred people celebrated Frank Lloyd Wright’s 147th birthday at an annual dinner given in the Hillside dining room following a reception at Taliesin, Saturday June 7. It is a joy and a privilege to be invited to this festive celebration. It is a time to see friends and professional acquaintances, and to meet new people.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Mr. Wright was born on June 8. I graduated from high school June 8, 1968 (6.8.68). Sometimes I chuckle about the coincidence.

A.D. German Warehouse – Open House

Text and photos (c) Mark Hertzberg

Image

Frank Lloyd Wright’s A.D. German Warehouse (1915) is safe, thanks to the generosity of Glenn and Mary Schnadt of Richland Center, Wisconsin. The building, which has been closed for several decades, was purchased by the Schnadts late last summer. They, in turn, have donated the building to the newly-formed A.D. German Warehouse Conservancy, Inc. which is now raising money to restore it and considering proposals for how to best use the building.

The Schnadts were honored at a community open house on the first floor of the Warehouse Saturday June 7, in honor of Wright’s birthday (June 8). Several hundred people attended the open house.

Image

Paul Corcoran, mayor of Richland Center, thanks the Schnadts for their generosity. Henk Newenhouse attended, dressed as Mr. Wright.

Image

Lon Arbegust surprised the Schnadts with a framed copy of their wedding photo, which he found in the local newspaper archives.

Image

Ron Scherubel, past executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and a board member of Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin, was one of the speakers.

The warehouse conservancy has a Facebook page. Contributions are welcomed: PO Box 436 Richland Center, WI 53581

Image

Image

Image,

New Gates for Hardy House

Words and photos (c) Mark Hertzberg, except historic photos, (c) Anne Sporer Ruetz

One of the most important finishing touches is coming to the Hardy House. It was built in 1904-06 with two wood gates, which we see in Anne Sporer Ruetz’s snapshots of her friends. Anne grew up in the house; her parents were the second owners (1938-1947) after Hardy lost the house at sheriff’s auction.

Image

Image

New gates, based on the unrealized design by Wright on one of his drawings, are being built by Chad Nichols, the master carpenter who has done much of the work at the house. Chad measured the openings for the gates in January, 2013:

Image

 

 

He first made a model based on the design built for the house, before it was decided to use the unrealized design:

Image

There is nary a spare clamp to be found in his workshop as he now completes the red cedar gates. It was decided to wait until the house rehabilitation was almost completed before making the gates:

Image

 

The gates will be stained before they are installed, probably next week. Chad proudly invited me to his workshop today to see what they look like:

Image

Photos / First Tower Tour

Photos (c) Mark Hertzberg for SC Johnson

The first public guests to ever tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower had about 45 minutes to explore the 1950s artifacts and displays about the architectural history of the building on two floors of the building, 3 Main and 3 Mezz, Friday morning. Interest in these first-ever tours has been so great that beginning in late May tours will be run five days a week through September, rather than only two days a week. These photos are from the first tour:

ImageImage

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

And I leave you with one photo from the companion tour of the Administration Building:

First Tower Tour

Countdown to Tower opening

Photos (c) Mark Hertzberg for SC Johnson

In just twelve hours the first public tours ever of the SC Johnson Research Tower begin. There is such demand for the tours that Wednesday and Thursday have just been added to the reservation schedule. We whet your appetite for your visit with some photos shot this afternoon, including some from a unique vantage point. The Research Tower is Wright’s only executed tap-root tower (Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer told me that Price Tower is not a true tap-root tower because it is tied into the foundation of the adjoining office building).

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

A portrait of Mr. Wright and H.F. Johnson Jr. at the Tower is on the elevator door on 3 Mezz:

Image

The Tower’s original lighting scheme was replicated as part of the restoration of the building (see older posts for photos of the Tower re-lighting at dusk on December 21, the Winter Solstice).

Image

Image

You can see photos of some of the 1950s artifacts on display two articles below this one. To make tour reservations:

www.scjohnson.com/visit

Some people have asked me technical questions: today’s photos were shot with a 14mm f2.8 lens on a full frame digital camera body (a Nikon D600). I do not particularly favor one brand camera…I choose Nikons because of my investment in Nikkor lenses over many years.

“Two Taliesins” (really three) at SCJ

(c) Text by Mark Hertzberg / Photos by Mark Hertzberg for SC Johnson

The third iteration of “At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright” opens Friday in Fortaleza Hall on the SC Johnson campus in Racine. The exhibition is entitled “The Two Taliesins,” but in addition to Taliesin and Taliesin West, it also includes what has sometimes been referred to as Taliesin East, Wright’s suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Workers were completing the installation when I photographed it last week.

Image

Image

A publicity statement from SC Johnson describes the exhibition: 

‘Wright used both homes as laboratories where he could develop and test his architectural ideas. The exhibit will compare and contrast how Wright incorporated his signature and revolutionary “organic” design concepts into his own homes, each of which reflected the very different landscapes and climates in which they were built.   

‘Artifacts from Wright’s Wisconsin and Arizona homes will be on display that simulate their natural settings and convey their significance to the Taliesin concept. The exhibit will also feature a collection of rare photos and videos that show Wright at home. In addition, visitors will learn about the central role that color played in Wright’s designs of the Taliesins.”

Image

The gallery opened in 2012 with an exhibition devoted to Wright’s Prairie-style homes. His Usonian homes were the theme of the 2013 exhibition in the gallery.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The Wright-designed SC Johnson Research Towers opens for the first public tours ever on Friday, as well. I have had the privilege of photographing several times during the 2013 restoration of the tower and the installation of the exhibits in the Tower over the last few weeks (see previous posts). For information about making reservations for tours, go to: http://www.scjohnson.com/en/company/visiting.aspx

Inside the SC Johnson Research Tower

(c) Mark Hertzberg

Image

The response to the opening of the SC Johnson Research Tower for the first public tours ever has been so strong that Sunday tours will now be available, as well.  http://www.scjohnson.com/en/company/visiting.aspx

Image

Two floors of the landmark (the “I”word is overused) building have been restored and furnished as they looked in November, 1950 when the building opened. Tours begin May 2. Here is a preview:

Image

Image

ImageImage

Image

Image

Image

Image

ImageImage

Image

 

Image

 

Florida Southern College

Text and photos (c) Mark Hertzberg

Image

The sun rises over Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, left, and Danforth Chapel at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida March 13. The college is the largest single-site collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. College president Dr. Ludd Spivey commissioned Wright to design the college campus master plan and the buildings in 1938. Twelve structures designed by Wright were built over a twenty year time span from 1938 to 1958. The Waterdome and the Esplanades are considered two of the 12 completed structures).

A thirteenth building, a Usonian home designed for faculty housing, was completed in 2013. It serves as a guest relations center for tour guests.

Florida Southern College

We had the privilege of a behind-the-scenes tour of the Wright-designed buildings on campus with Mark Tlachac.

The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, with its carillon tower, below, is the best known of the Wright buildings.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

ImageImage

Image

Image

Image

The smaller, more intimate William H. Danforth Chapel is adjacent to the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Its “prow” is somewhat similar to Wright’s Unitarian Meeting House near Madison.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The Esplanades, which Wright designed to shield people from the sun and rain, were my favorite subject. Wright designed them as evocative of citrus trees. The first photo is the projected shadow of one of the columns at sunrise.


Image

Image

Image

Image

ImageImage

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The ceiling of the reception area of the Fine Administration Building reminded me of ceilings in Price Tower.Florida Southern College

I also liked the original Roux Library. The building has been remodeled, but Wright’s lower level reading room is still similar

 as when built.

Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College

Jeff Baker, an architect from Albany, New York, is working with the college on the restoration of many aspects of the buildings.

Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College

It’s not Wright, but it is still worth looking at!

(c) Mark Hertzberg

Image

This is a Frank Lloyd Wright blog, but, heck, it’s mine, so I can post other things, too! I was struck by the sun at 10 a.m. when I looked in the sanctuary of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Racine today. The wide shot with the piano is what I first saw. That drew me to the tighter shots. I had biked to the church. I have been commissioned to write a book for their 175th anniversary and was there for an editing meeting, so I didn’t have “real” cameras and lenses. These were all shot with my “bike camera,” a pocket Canon SD 780 IS point and shoot. I picked that model a few years ago because it has a viewfinder.  Thanks to Michael Zacks of Zacks Camera Repair in Providence, RI for fixing the zoom a month ago!

I have not abandoned Wright…there are some goodies coming to this blog in the next few weeks!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image