Chicago History Museum, ICHi-89163, Raymond W. Trowbridge, photographer

About a Wall at Taliesin That No Longer Exists

I wrote this to myself over a decade ago. When I was asking questions about the history of Taliesin (as I often do). But, to start off: this post is about the photo at the top of this page. I’ve been trying to figure out the history of a wall between two rooms in Wright’s […]

Photograph by Kevin Dodda of Taliesin in snow.

How did Frank Lloyd Wright feel about Christmas?

Someone asked me that question in early December. Yet, I’ve tried to answer it, with no clear success, for years. After all, Wisconsin can be charmingly Christmas-Themed, with a dusting of snow and a chill in the air.* In addition, in his autobiography, Wright described Taliesin in winter as being a “frosted palace roofed and […]

Looking east at Taliesin's agricultural wing.

“This stuff is FUN for me”: Taliesin photographs from Frank Lloyd Wright’s lifetime.

The photograph above was published in a “Flashback” article from December 4 by Ron Grossman at The Chicago Tribune: “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin was a refuge for illicit romance. But tragedy tore apart the love he built”. It’s one of two photographs taken at Taliesin on December 26, 1911. That was is published in my […]

Orson Welles during a taping of The Shadow

Nights on the weekend with OTR

How I learned about Old Time Radio1 While driving in the car one Sunday night in the late 1990s, I switched on the radio and caught a show that permanently changed my routine. The radio was tuned to 91.3, a Wisconsin Public Radio station, and that’s when I heard this: “Bob Bailey, in the exciting […]

Photograph of Taliesin's living room taken in 1930 i89164, Raymond Trowbridge, Photographer

Taliesin as a structural experiment

Photograph by Raymond Trowbridge looking south at the dining area in Taliesin’s living room (read my post about Trowbridge and Taliesin here). Taliesin in Wisconsin was Frank Lloyd Wright’s laboratory. This statement is not marketing: it’s truth. Wright experimented with materials, engineering, the play of light, colors, spatial concepts and more all over the Taliesin […]

A Trip Into Hillside History

In the late 00’s, I wrote a “comprehensive chronology” of Wright’s Hillside building with the principal of Cornerstone Preservation (which specializes in architectural research and planning). This led me to reading all of those old newspapers I wrote about recently. The post where I detailed some of what you learn by reading old newspapers.1 That […]

Did Wright ever live in Wisconsin in the winter?

The simple answer is yes. But today anyone walking into his living quarters at Taliesin sees flagstone floors and floor-to-ceiling French doors with single-pane glass (as you see in this interior photo at the Wisconsin Historical Society). So, it’s a natural thing to wonder, if you know Wisconsin at all (or have heard of the […]

I never knew he was such an S.O.B.!

Frank Lloyd Wright, that is. Still, after the documentary about Wright by Ken Burns came out in 1998, that’s what all of my friends said to me that Christmas. The stuff you hear about Frank Lloyd Wright I wasn’t surprised that they said this. Let me tell you: among other things, what’s heard about Wright […]

Adventures in Reading Old Newspapers

Over ten years ago, I went to the archives room at the local library to read the microfiche files of our newspaper, which started in the 1860s. I was researching Hillside, the building on the Taliesin estate originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his aunts and their school, the Hillside Home School. I was […]

East facade, Taliesin I

What was on the menu the day they were murdered?

Looking (plan) northwest at Taliesin’s living quarters (the part of the building where the architect lived). On August 15, 1914, fire destroyed every part of the building you see in the photograph that’s not stone.  On August 15, 1914, while Frank Lloyd Wright was working in Chicago, a servant named Julian Carlton – for reasons […]

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