Why do the vintage ASBH drawings exist at all? Frank Lloyd Wright didn't plan to re-use or show them. Was his decision to store almost 1000 images based on nostalgia or pride, or something more practical?
Did Frank Lloyd Wright plan to furnish his American System-Built Homes? Evidence suggests that limited studio resources left most owners to their own decorative devices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To make the main living space behave much larger, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an open and flexible floor plan that could be reconfigured for a special occasion, like a holiday party.
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.
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.