Bartlesville, Oklahoma – May 2019 – Frank Lloyd Wright Goes to New Heights

Those who follow this blog regularly know many of the postings are for architecture, and many of those have featured Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW generally is known for his homes, but did design some commercial properties as well.

One of his most famous commercial properties is the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. While a 19 floor building in a small city might seem out of place there are a few other buildings of similar height, as it was the headquarters for Phillip 66 petroleum company, and continues to be a major employer as part of Conoco – Phillips.

As usual there are many unique touches to the design, including these inlaid logos in the floor for the original owner’s company.

The building houses an art museum, as well as a collection of the original furnishings.

The building was built with offices and apartments. The apartments have been turned into a boutique hotel – we were lucky enough to get a 2 level room on the 13th and 14th floors.

The furnishings are new but fit the style perfectly.

As with many FLW designs there is quirkiness to the design (the bathroom was insanely small, and the stairs were narrow and at an angle) but it was worth it to spend the night in a work of art.

Next door is a performing arts center designed by a FLW student.

The Price Tower is one of America’s great buildings!

Buffalo – May 2017 – Pierce Arrow Museum

The Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company was one of the first luxury cars ever built. They were so well known for luxury William Howard Taft ordered two as the first presidential vehicles.

George Pierce had started out building bicycles in the 1890s before moving on to cars. He also ended up building motorcycles and trucks in addition to the cars.

The Pierce Arrow Museum was opened in 2001 in an old Mack Truck showroom. A new expansion recently completed has the full size Frank Lloyd Wright design filling station


The entrance to the new section

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The drum from the company band in the early 1900s

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Two famed Pierce Arrow hood ornaments

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Artwork in the bicycle section

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One of the recently donated Corvettes

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The filling station

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A couple of classic Auburns.

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Buffalo – May 2017 – Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo

Renown 20th century architect Frank Lloyd Wright has landmarks remaining throughout the country and beyond, most prominently in his adopted hometown of Chicago. While not to that scale, Buffalo has an excellent collection of FLW designs still remaining.

About 18 miles south of Buffalo in the town of Derby is Graycliff. Built between 1926 and 1931 along the Lake Erie bluffs, it was the summer home for Isabelle and Darwin Martin. The Martin’s had a FLW home in the city prior to this home being built.

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Differing from most FLW designs it does not have extensive overhangs, rather strategic design to maximize natural light throughout. Also emphasized from anywhere on the property is the view of the lake.

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Sitting on a bluff 60′ above Lake Erie, it had stairs to get down to the beach. However years of erosion has left the stairs stranded.

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The interior is still in a much needed state of repair, but it does give glimpses of the FLW style. Unlike most FLW homes, this one has a minimal amount of built in furniture, mostly as a cost savings.

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The servants quarters and garage feature fantastic bi fold doors with diamond shaped windows. The diamond shape is prominent throughout the estate.

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Next up is the Fontana boathouse, along the Niagara River. Designed in 1910 it was never built until 2007. While there we met some very nice guys from the Canisius Crew, who showed us around.

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The lower level is wide open for the storage of the boats.

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The upper level features a meeting room.

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The balcony on the upper level offers great views of the Niagara River and the Peace Bridge to Canada.

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The Davidson home is a Prairie Style on a street not far from the famed Martin House complex. It is privately owned.

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The Blue Sky Mausoleum is in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. Much like the boatside, and the filling station, this was built recently of an original FLW design, to his exact specifications.

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The Martin House complex in Buffalo consists of a number of homes and buildings designed and built by FLW. The primary home was built in the Prairie Style between 1903 and 1905, showing the amazing talent in that it still looks ‘modern’ today.

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Along the backside of the property is the Gardener’s Cottage.

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The main house holds a commanding view along the side street.

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An impressive Pergola connects two of the buildings together.

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Finally we paid a visit to the Pierce Arrow Museum (detailed in a separate posting) where they have built the FLW designed filling station.

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Racine, WI – September 2014 – Frank Lloyd Wright House – Wingspread

Racine, Wisconsin is the home of Johnson Wax, where in 1936 famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright design a new administration building for the company. This building has many of FLW’s features, but in a change from the prairie style he had been doing has numerous curved Cherokee Red bricks that created the sweeping curves of the interior and exterior.

It remains to this day one of the his most noteworthy buildings.

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The owner of the company, Herbert Johnson, was so impressed he commission Frank to build him a home at the edge of Racine.

The 14,000 square foot home is set in the neighborhood of Wind Point, near Lake Michigan.

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The living room is the center of the home, with four wings extending from this base.

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As with most FLW homes there is a close integration of exterior and interior, with numerous patios and porches.

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Another classic FLW feature was built in furniture.

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Used today as a retreat and conference center for SC Johnson, Wingspread is one of the finest examples of FLW architecture I have seen.

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Chicago – May 2013 – Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park and River Forest

Having a few hours to spend around Chicago one day, I went on a driving tour of Oak Park and River Forest to find as many Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes as I could. Please note this post is not intended on being the comprehensive list of FLW houses in the area, only a sampling of those I could find, and take decent photos.

If you are interested in further information I suggest visiting the FLW trust website

My favorites

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Fayette County, PA – October 2011 – Kentuck Knob

Situated just 4 miles south of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous home, Fallingwater, the house known as Kentuck Knob sits high up on a ridge. The grounds consists of 79 acres that was originally a farm.

Built between 1953 and 1956, it was one of Wright’s last homes. The construction materials include red cypress, glass, and native sandstone, topped with a copper roof.

As with many homes that are open to the public, photography was prohibited inside.

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Also on the property was an extensive collection of sculptures and other art.

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Oberlin, OH – October 2011 – Weltzheimer/Johnson House

The Weltzheimer/Johnson House in Oberlin, Ohio was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1948. It’s construction was the first Usonian House built by Wright in Ohio.

Interestingly it was built out of redwood, the only Usonian outside of California constructed that way. Wright himself never visited the site, an apprentice from Taliesin lead the construction.

Today it is open for tours on select weekends.

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