Saturday 21 July, 2012

Days 37 and 38 – Spring Green


I have always wanted to see Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio. I made reservations and rode the 99 minutes to spring green. I stopped in Madison for a really cheap, meh breakfast. The tour wasn’t until the next day so I had an afternoon to spend exploring. The town itself is quite small [...]


I have always wanted to see Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio. I made reservations and rode the 99 minutes to spring green. I stopped in Madison for a really cheap, meh breakfast.

The tour wasn’t until the next day so I had an afternoon to spend exploring. The town itself is quite small and sweet. Lunch and coffee in the bookstore/cafe was very nice, one of the better meals I’ve enjoyed in a small town. The local bank was designed by one of the Taliesin architects and you can clearly see the influence from FLW’s later period on the building. It looks like a cousin of the Marin Civic Center.

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I visit The House on the Rock that afternoon. It is an amazing series of buildings and exhibit halls that follow no single theme except the eccentric interests of its builder. There are numerous collections displayed, from antique firearms to model ships (many over 15 feet long) to carousel horses to dolls. Many are of dubious authenticity, but they are all presented in a mind numbing overload in a carnival atmosphere.

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The building shows some influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, but the execution is of questionable quality, looking to mystify and amuse rather than create an environment of sublime beauty like Wright’s creations. It’s still worth a visit, a great way to spend an afternoon. My favorite part is the organ room, a giant steampunk conglomeration of pipe organ pieces, giant mechanical bits from ocean liners, spiral staircases and lots and lots of dolls. Like the rest of the house it’s like the best fun house you’ve ever seen built from really interesting pieces and presented on a truly epic scale.

The next morning I take the four hour tour at Taliesin. It’s very educational and goes by too fast. Unfortunately interior photos are not allowed, so I can’t share the best parts of the tour. in contrast to yesterday’s spectacle, here in a series of buildings that were constructed over 50 years you see one of America’s greatest architects attempting to create the perfect environment. At one time it was both a working farm and architecture school and students who built the structures were working the farm and also apprenticed to Mr. Wright. Each space I enter has an almost sacred feel to it. The buildings highlight the beauty of the surrounding land perfectly, each window presents its view to bet effect, like a painting.

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2 Comments

  • Jack VanHesteren says:

    Dear Scott, Am sure you must be with the rest of us–in shock from the horror of what occurred In Aurora, CO early this morning. Would like to assure you that I called Denver this morning, to assure that none of our family members were among the victims. Do want to respond to your Blog entries, because am awed by some of the things you’ve been able to visit and enjoy in Wisconsin. Are you planning to travel thru Illinois, or to enter Michigan via the Upper Peninsula??
    Jack VH

  • Scott Nelson says:

    Hi Scott- I liked the House on the Rock pics. Another one that’d be good to share with Sky and Ben, particularly as it was featured in one of their bedtime storybooks.

    Sue- glad to hear everything is all right with you and friends. Truly awful about the shooting, and enough to give me pause about US gun availability. My foreign colleagues often comment on it when they visit, and this event is another that gives us little defense.


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