Caring for the Forsaken

We bought Frank Lloyd Wright's Elizabeth Murphy House with a plan to restore and care for her, but quickly discovered a curious and unexpected form of stewardship. Like nuns in a 19th century orphanage, we find ourselves caring for the forsaken.

Correcting a Wrightian mistake – but at a cost

It is not a spoiler alert to say that after Frank Lloyd Wright sued Richards and cancelled the ASBH program in 1917, Richards and Williamson continued designing and selling Prairie Style homes around Milwaukee. Distinguishing those homes from Wright's ASBH work can be difficult. Here is a clue.

Kids, what do you see in Mr. Wright’s art glass windows?

Matthew Smith - an expert in fine leaded art glass - points out that Frank Lloyd Wright's motif in the Elizabeth Murphy House reflects the proportions of the Elizabeth Murphy House herself.

Go ahead: (Insert Leaky Roof Jokes Here…)

Wright's statement chimney was meant to welcome a visitor like a smoke signal emerging from the heart of the house and saying, "we're home, it's warm in here, and you're invited." But in 1918, it leaked.

Wright’s subtle sight-line restored: lessons-learned and before and after pix

Imagine a couple of kids - one hundred years ago - sitting at the table, back to the warm morning sun, sipping milk while one parent flipped breakfast eggs and the other buttered toast and they all planned the weekend. It's not only about seeing things, but about living and being together in an American System-Built House.

Window Renovation Begins

Our goal is to mix historic-appropriateness with modern energy efficiency. We're going back to Wright's framed casement design, but will allow for double-paned glass and proper weatherstripping. We will make the stiles, rails and beads in Cypress and have organized a shop in which to mill, fit and assemble the windows in batches.

Sunday Morning Forum (April 5th): Join the Hayeses on a virtual (Zoom) tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home for the People.

Since CoVid-19 has made it impossible to attend a First Church Sunday Morning Forum in body, let's get together in spirit and look at the work of one of our own.

Elizabeth Murphy and the End of Frank Lloyd Wright’s American System-Built Experiment

While the historic Burnham Block represents the optimistic beginning of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first attempt to design modest homes, the Elizabeth Murphy House at 2106 East Newton in Shorewood, Wisconsin, marks the tumultuous end of the American System-Built idea.