(c) Mark Hertzberg – For The Journal Times
A year is generally not a significant time in the history of a 110-year old house. However, this past year has been perhaps the most important, if not dramatic, year in the history of the Frank Lloyd Wright house at 1319 Main Street. Thomas P. Hardy, a Racine attorney, moved into the house that Wright designed for him, in 1906. Hardy was 73 when he lost his beloved home, first at sheriff’s auction in 1937, and then by order of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1938. The house has had six owners since then. The newest steward of the house, Eugene Szymczak, bought it a year ago from Jim and Margaret Yoghourtjian, who owned it since 1968. Szymczak undertook a full restoration of the house. Some of the work, including replacing aging wood and refinishing the house in its original colors inside and out, is relatively routine. Other work required solutions unique to the house. An example was the placement of four floor-to-ceiling columns in the sub-basement to stabilize the Main Street side of the house.
Interest in the house has increased greatly recently, according to the craftsmen working on it, as passersby see the finish color of terra cotta applied. Szymczak reflects on the past year, and says, “I am happy to see that many people enjoy seeing the house come back to its original intent of being part of nature and an inspiration.” The Hardy House will be open for a rare tour during Preservation Racine’s annual fall house tour Sunday September 29. For more information: http://www.preservationracine.org/tour2013.html
Copy and paste to your browser for a link to a photo gallery of the year of restoration: