"truth is more interesting than the facts..."
...to quote the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Whether the truth about the travails of Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) will ever be known, the amount of literature devoted to the topic is certainly not in short supply.
Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to see a FLW building is certain to come away appreciating his many talents. Examples of his work are around the globe but there are three places that hold special pleasure for any Wright-o-phile.
The first would undoubtedly be Oak Park, Illinois. Although Wright was born in Wisconsin, Oak Park, a suburb near Chicago, was home to Wright for a many years. The home and studio that he built and shared with his family still stands on Chicago Avenue in Oak Park and is open for tours most days. The neighborhood around his home also includes many other homes in his prolific portfolio. There are guided and self-guided tours available from the main house. You will also be amazed how the prairie style that makes Wright's homes so identifiable is often copied with varying degrees of success throughout Oak Park as well.
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Taliesin, in Spring Grove, Wisconsin is the home to The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, which is still operating today. Taliesin unfortunately was burned to the ground - twice - and rebuilt. The stories and history are covered in more literature than we can mention here. The trip to Taliesin is truly a reward for Wright fans who make the journey. In its beautiful setting you can almost feel Wright's presence still residing over the household.
Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona was also built by Wright as a winter campus for the faculty and students, who would spend time during spring and summer in Spring Grove, Wisconsin and move to Scottsdale for the winter months. There are many interesting and unique aspects of both campuses. One highlight in Scottsdale is that the students create their own "dorm rooms" in the desert. If you stop here you will want to take the guided tour, which explains in detail how it was designed and the day-to-day life at Taliesin.
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There have been so many stories written about FLW's life and not one can escape the chance to mention his infamous infidelity with one Mamah Borthwick Cheney. As the story goes, the two met at a town hall discussion Wright was giving in Oak Park. Mrs. Cheney was an attendee and was immediately drawn to Wright's charm and talent. Mrs. Cheney and her husband commissioned Wright to build a home shortly thereafter. The rest as they say is history. Those who believe in "soul mates" or "kindred spirits" will find the stories interesting, shocking and ultimately devastating.
Here's a list of a few novels which do a great job walking you through the FLW history and the romance between Mamah and Wright.
Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan
Death In A Prarie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders by William R. Drennan
The Women: A Novel by T.C. Boyle