On April 10, 1911, Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother, Anna, purchased 31.65 acres of land in The Valley south of Spring Green, Wisconsin. The land, which cost $2,274.88, is where Wright would build the structure you see in the photo above: his home, Taliesin.
I put a copy of the warranty deed below:
Warranty deed is reproduced on page 99 in Wright Studies, volume one: Taliesin, 1911-1914, ed. Narciso Menocal.
Ostensibly, Anna bought the land so that her son could build a home for her.
Of course, it wasn’t for her. It was for himself and Mamah Borthwick. Haven’t you been paying attention?
He was building the structure there by May of 1911. We know this thanks to a note in the Weekly Home News (Spring Green’s newspaper). I wrote about this news piece in my post, “This Will Be A Nice Addition“.
It said that Wright’s mother, “is building her home in Hillside valley, adjoining the old homestead, a little north and west of the old millsite. This will be a nice addition to the neat home in the valley.”
But Frank Lloyd Wright, of course, was eloquent about that piece of land in The Valley. On this anniversary, I will print some of his writing on the piece of land from his An Autobiography, first published in 1932.
Taliesin was the name of a Welsh poet. A druid-bard or singer of songs who sang to Wales the glories of Fine Art. Literally the Welsh word means “shining brow.” Many legends cling to the name in Wales.
This hill on which Taliesin now stands as “brow” was one of my favorite places when I was a boy, for pasque flowers grew there in March sun while snow still streaked the hillsides.
I knew well by now that no house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.
The world had appropriate buildings before–why not more appropriate buildings now than ever before. There must be some kind of house that would belong to that hill, as trees and the ledges of rock did; as Grandfather and Mother had belonged to it, in their sense of it all.
Frank Lloyd Wright. An Autobiography (Longmans, Green and Company, London, New York, Toronto, 1932). 170, 171.
Draftsman Taylor Woolley took photographs of Wright’s new-built home in 1911-12. They exist at the Utah Historical Society. You can find them through this link.
First published April 10, 2023.
I took the photograph at the top of this post on April 11, 2015.
Whenever I have a question regarding anything Taliesin-related Keiran Murphy is the first person I turn to."
Never in my life have I been given a more sensitive and comprehending tour of anything, anywhere. Listening to her talk about Wright and looking at everything she pointed out, I felt as if my eyes had opened to twice their normal size."
… her knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright is close to astonishing. Over many years she has simply absorbed him—and his beloved Taliesin—into her bones.” “I am in awe at her willingness—her delight—in sharing what she knows with others."