Once it is Gone, it is Gone Forever

The house that iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright built in the early 1950s for his son David, located in Arcadia, AZ, has been bought by land developers who plan its demolition.

Wright is considered by most to be the greatest American architect, and designed hundreds of unique and breathtaking structures in his Organic and Prairie styles, which include sloped walls, cantilever roofs, and circular lines that were groundbreaking in their originality.   His designs include New York’s Guggenheim Museum, among the last of a seventy-year career that ended only with his death in 1959 at age 92.

The David Wright House is a unique and irreplaceable treasure, worthy, IMHO, of the designation of Historic Landmark that the Conservancy wishes to have placed on it.   It could not be built today, except as a modern-method replica of the original, like a computer-generated fresco of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.

It is perhaps telling of our throw-away society which modernity has cultivated that someone possessing such a treasure would look to see it razed to produce two more luxury homes like the millions in our country that already exist.   Telling, and sad.

Our heroes all travel the mortal path,  but that which we can save of our collective history will inspire the wonder of future generations.  We should be diligent and unrelenting in the efforts to preserve our past.  Our structures, and historic places.   Our battlefields.  Our ships.   Our museums.   Our heritage.   Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

(The first article has clickage that can get you to the Conservancy’s petition)

9 thoughts on “Once it is Gone, it is Gone Forever”

  1. Okay, I’m probably opening up a can of worms here, but I wonder if this house has some of the same structural problems as other Frank Lloyd Wright creations, and they just don’t have the money to fix it. The guy was a genius with his designs, but he stunk as a civil engineer. Monona Terrace in Madison, WI is a good example of using FLW’s design – it’s very beautiful with the arches and the reflections off the lake into the rooms, but the architect in charge made sure the structure was sound. Fallingwater would be falling down if not for millions of dollars spent in preservation.

  2. Roamy,

    Unknown about the structural problems, as I haven’t seen any reference to them.

    He wasn’t much of a husband, either, apparently.

  3. The problem is that there’s only so much space (at least until Roamy and her minions get off their asses) which means we’ll eventually become hamstrung simply because everything is historic for some reason.

    I don’t think there should be a historic registry. Instead, I think organizations like the Conservancy should raise funds to purchase historic properties to preserve.

    1. Space is an issue for Frank Lloyd Wright homes. He did not put in a lot of closet space. His bathrooms were also on the small style for todays home-owners. He designed before there was the profusion of stuff in homes.

      Great exterior design, but out of step with today’s homeowners. One wonders how much refitting a new electrical, cable/Sat dish and ethernet system would cost.

      JMHO based on a few home tours.

    2. Exactly Jeff! I like historical places and artifacts as much as the next guy (more than some even). But in many cases, a lot of these historical societies seem more interested in telling other people what they can and cannot do with property they own than with preserving history. And in many cases, I find the “history” of some of these areas to be dubious at best. In downtown Augusta, there are a few buildings built in the early 20th century that are literally collapsing, and while the owners of the buildings want to restore or even just repair the buildings, the local historical society fights them at every turn since they’re “not doing it right”. To the extent, that one has passed through several hands since I’ve been here (1994), each owner giving up in frustration. And this “historic building” (seriously, there are pubs in England older than this country, and folks are worried about a building that is younger than my grandfather would be), is unfit for human use due to the start of disrepair.

  4. Wright was widely known as the most disliked man in South Central Wisconsin. Taliesen was on the border of Sauk and Iowa counties, just south of Spring Green, and he would not pay his bills in either county, believeing that the people of those counties should just be grateful that he was willing to live among them.

    I think the SC Johnson building in Racine is on it’s 4th or fifth roof, because his design lent itself to leaks. Interesting architect, yes, structural engineer, no.

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