I thought I was going to Wauwatosa, but really it was Wausau. Well, I got the "Wau" right. I saw "Wau," and naturally, I assumed Wauwatosa. Who wouldn't? Wauwatosa is, relative to Madison, almost all the way to Milwaukee. Wausau is dead center in Wisconsin, which means it's way north of here -- a two and a half hour drive. That's means five hours of talking in the car, which we did, and it was scintillating. Really.
Why did we go to Wausau? To me, and probably to you, Wausau is an insurance company, not so much a real place. But it's a pretty big city, by Wisconsin standards, and there have been enough wealthy people there over the years -- dealing in lumber and insurance -- that there are some excellent houses. We went on an architectural tour.
The best thing on the tour was the Charles and Dorothy Manson House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1938-41:
There was another Wright house, the Duey-Wright House, done in 1957, shortly before Wright's death:
I also liked the Aytchmonde and Leigh Yawkey Woodson House, designed by George Washington Maher, 1913-14. Here's a detail:
There were tons of cool details inside all the houses, but, unfortunately, photography was only allowed outside.
Here's the lovely arbor outside the Cyrus and Alice Yawkey House:
We saw a couple Wright-inspired houses built in the last decade. They're at the bottom of the page at the link. We loved one and scorned the other. The Letarski house was designed by a guy who had really internalized Wright's ideas and had an artist's feeling for what he was doing. He lived in the house with his family. The Sorenson House was built by an architect who said he was given free rein by his clients -- two doctors -- and he had collected elements from three Wright designs and fitted them together, but it didn't have a believable, genuine spirit to it. It didn't make sense. The difference between the two houses was quite striking. I felt as though the Sorenson House could be an exam for architecture students: What do you count as mistakes and why?
I hope your day was as Usonian as ours.