Nearly every week, I receive an email reporting a rumored Wright -- A Frank Lloyd Wright building that is not included in our Frank Lloyd Wright Index. The idea of discovering a lost and forgotten Frank Lloyd Wright is certainly exciting! Unfortunately, however, very few rumored Wrights are true Wrights. For example:
Sugarloaf Mountain in Comus, Maryland
Yes, Wright drew some fascinating sketches for an automobile overlook there. But the proposed structure, the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium, was never built. And that big white colonial home at the foot of the mountain? Definitely not Wright.
The home in the Hitchcock film North by Northwest
Sorry. That stunning structure is only a stage set. The North by Northwest house was inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, but Wright did not design it.
Sorry, again. According to the historical association in Harvard, Illinois, there are no Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the area. On the other hand, nearby Oak Park, Illinois has many homes designed by Wright.
"Hilly House" in Brookfield, Illinois
A reader recalls attending kindergarten in this Prairie style house at 3601 Forest Avenue and he feels certain that it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Certainly it could have been, but it turns out that the house was primarily the work of William Drummond, head draftsman for Frank Lloyd Wright. Drummond and Louis Guenzel were partners between 1912 and 1915. Constructed as a kindergarten, the building became a private home in the 1950s.
It's easy to be confused about which buildings are true Wrights. Frank Lloyd Wright left a rich legacy of sketches and plans. After his death, architects used some of Wright's drawings to build new structures. But these Wright-inspired buildings are not, technically, built by Wright.
So, does that mean that our listing of official Frank Lloyd Wright buildings is engraved in stone? No! Every once in awhile, architectural historians do discover a forgotten Wright. Through a long process of research, they track down rumors and speculation, and eventually find documentation to prove Wright's authorship.
If you think your home or a building in your community is a forgotten Wright, your first step is to contact your local historical association. They can help you find the research you'll need to track down the truth. You may also get research assistance from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit corporation that houses a vast repository of drawings and plans by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin architects.
Finally, be sure to check the FLW Update. On this Web site, Frank Lloyd Wright scholar W.A. Storrer posts announcements of new information about Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, with the latest facts on rumored Wrights and newly discovered Wrights.
Our Favorite Wrights...
- Frank Lloyd Wright's Plan for a Fireproof House
- Guggenheim Museum in New York City
- Frederic C. Robie House
- Taliesin West
What's your favorite? Tell us!
Find a complete list of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed during his lifetime: Frank Lloyd Wright Building Index.