June 9, 2008

The E. Clarke and Julie Arnold House and the Richard C. and Berenice Smith House — by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Visited last Saturday on the "Wright & Like" 2008 tour.

E. Clarke and Julie Arnold House

That's the E. Clarke and Julie Arnold House in Columbus, Wisconsin, visited at around 11 a.m., when it was a nice, sunny day. This house is composed with lots of diamond shapes.

Later in the day, after spending 2 hours as a docent at the Dr. Maurice and Mrs. Margaret Greenberg House, I hurried down the wooded path as a thunderstorm was about to hit. Secure from electrocution in my car, I enjoyed the fireworks over the rolling Wisconsin farmland. I did wonder about the strength of the wind, which seemed intent on running me off the road. And when I switched from satellite to land radio, after I got out of the really windy area, I was scared retrospectively by the reports of tornadoes. I got a little lost — finding myself on Country Road Z — which was not in my print-out directions from Google, and decided I'd better just try to keep my bearings and head for home. But then I found a road that was on the print-out and the route started to make sense, so I got to the Richard C. and Berenice Smith House in Jefferson, Wisconsin:

The Richard C. and Berenice Smith House

It's more interesting from the other side, because it's built around a really large oak tree — a 300-year sort of thing. The red concrete floors — which look just like the driveway seen in my photo — extend throughout the house. After all the rain, those floors were quite wet inside, a classic Frank Lloyd Wright feature (leakiness). It was, to my eye, an unpleasant design. Too many angles. Zig-zags everywhere. But maybe I could settle in and get used to it. The interior walls were all stone, and they zig-zagged around that noble tree. The whole house honored a tree. And the tree deserved it.


Palladian said...

473. Frank Lloyd Wright. Desk, designed for the Richard C. Smith House, Jefferson, Wisconsin, 1951, cypress, triangular form on angled legs and three drawers with original brass handles, restored finish, 58”w x 50”d x 26”h, very good condition. $6500-$8500

Pogo said...

A rainy day touring a FLW house?

I wonder how many buckets were needed. "The current homeowner is continuing the restoration, having it reroofed this spring."
And the spring after that, likely.

But seriously, I tend to see 'ranch house' with much of this style. A really really nice ranch house. So where's the basketball hoop?

And thanks for the earlier "Gobbler" link. Lileks is hilarious in those descriptions.

Trooper York said...

Frank Lloyd Wright: Mr. Wisconsin?
Willy Wisconsin: I am extraordinarily busy, sir.
Frank Lloyd Wright: I just wanted to ask about the cheese - Uh, the lifetime supply of cheese... for Charlie. When does he get it?
Willy Wisconsin: He doesn't.
Frank Lloyd Wright:: Why not?
Willy Wisconsin: Because he broke the rules.
Frank Lloyd Wright: What rules? We didn't see any rules. Did we, Charlie?
Willy Wonka: Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy - "I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera...”Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera...”Memo bis punitor delicatum!" It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole a whole package of string cheese. You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!
Frank Lloyd Wright: You're a crook. You're a cheat and a swindler! That's what you are! How could you do a thing like this, build up a little boy's hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces? After I designed this beautiful cheese factory that is the wonder of all of Wisconsin. You're an inhuman monster!
Willy Wisconsin: I said "Good day!"
(Willy Wisconsin and the Cheese Factory designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 2008)

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob said...

When I saw the picture of the house in your 7:47 post on Saturday, I thought to myself, she photographed the entrance to a park restroom. Why would she do that?

I think I like Wright's small ideas (windows, interiors) more than I like his building designs.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

I see your point, Bob - the details are often really sweet! But park restroom! Cold, fella, COLD.

Danny said...

Ann- have you seen the Frank Lloyd Wright in Ann Arbor, the one on Geddes Ave, near the Nichols Arboretum entrance? I know the current owner,and he is forever complaining about the problems caused by the faulty design!! :):)

wrightfan said...


I think we may have met you at the Greenburg house on Saturday. We were there at about 2PM, while it still hot, humid and mostly sunny. Weren't you stationed in the great room, just past the step-down into the foyer? Your photo looks similar to the docent we spoke with in that area. I was with my wife, and was wearing an Ohio State polo shirt. I'm sure you spoke with dozens of people that afternoon, but you may recall that we talked with you about the vibrant orange/blue/green color scheme in the great room, and I mentioned that it looked like a color scheme that Olgivanna Wright might have had something to do with. We also discussed the similarity of the vibrant color scheme in this house with that of FLW's Christian house, called Samara, in W. Lafayete, IN. Let me know if any of this sounds familiar to you.

Ann Althouse said...

Wrightfan: Yes, I remember. That was me.

I found out later the own used fabric paint to get that blue!

Craig said...

I think the Smith house in Jefferson is on the same block as the parsonage where my dad lived from 1929 until 1931. The circular drive entrance to the Meadow Springs Golf Club should be across the street.