Photos and text (c) Mark Hertzberg 2015
A press event Tuesday October 6, 2015 sponsored by Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin announces the documentation of the house at 2107 West Lawn Avenue in Madison as another one of Wright’s American System-Built houses. This is the second discovery of a newly documented Wright ASBH home this year. The other is in Shorewood, a suburb of Milwaukee. The house is an ASBH Series AA model.
Linda McQuillen purchased the house in 1989. The entry is on the left side, as visitors approach the house. The porch to the left and the room to the right (built as an open porch, enclosed by a subsequent owner) are 1924 and 1927 non-Wright additions. The house was painstakingly documented by Madison-based Wright scholar Mary Jane Hamilton over two decades with assistance from many sources, including Mike Lilek. Lilek has overseen the restoration of Wright in Wisconsin’s ASBH properties on W. Burnham Street in Milwaukee and led the documentation of the Shorewood house with the assistance of other Wright scholars.
Hamilton chats with Nathan McQuillen, who grew up in the house. Her meticulous documentation was displayed on four poster boards on easels.
Hamilton explains that only the right hand built-in hutch in the diminutive dining room is original. The room was originally the kitchen. The hutch at left is in place of an original door.
The original hutch has doors with the same leaded-glass pentagon seen in many windows of the house.
The dining room leads to the living room. The fireplace at the left side of the living room is not original.
The sun room from one of the 1920s additions is now an office, south of the living room.
A basement crawl space below the addition shows the original and added foundation walls.
Part of the authentication of the house as ASBH comes from the joists being 24″ apart, as was customary in the ASBH homes, as opposed the conventional 16″ measurement.
There are three bedrooms upstairs. Two are shown in their entirety, the third is depicted by the narrow broom closet.
The entrance to the house, on the south side, away from the street, has one of Wright’s characteristic wood screens outside the door. The front door knob and lock are original to the house.
The north (left) and east sides of the house. The fireplace is a recent addition. The street is to the left.
The east side, with its 1920s porch addition, off the master bedroom:
This is a view of the house from the street. the door is on the left or south side:
McQuillen is interviewed by journalist Doug Wahl of Madison’s Channel 3 television station.
Mark, what documentation do they have? Just clues in the house like the joists? Is that solid enough evidence?
Sears Homes of Chicagoland
A summary of some of the documentation is at http://www.wrightinwisconsin.org
Mary Jane Hamilton and Mike Lilek are fastidious about documentation, unlike some (better known to many people) who assert there are newly discovered Wright homes and offer no substantive proof. The 24″ centering was an ASBH construction characteristic. The ASBs were built by companies that contracted with Richards, who, in turn paid Wright. There is an ad in the Madison paper from a builder to build a Wright home on that lot at the time. There are a variety of things Hamilton and Lilek found that match ASBH to a tee, including some of the design which matches the Model AA series.
It’s so exciting that more ASBH houses are being uncovered. We’ve been in the Delbert Meier House for almost two years now. Much like McQuillen said in an interview about her house, we walked into the house and just knew that it had to be ours.