FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

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DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by DavidC »


Roderick Grant
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by Roderick Grant »

Somewhere in the bowels of WC is a photo of the structure just south of the main Northome mansion, across from the approach drive. As I recall, it was a brick structure, was designed by some unknown person and was destroyed. Where is this house located with respect to the site of the demolished mansion? What are its bona fides?

SDR
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by SDR »

Hmm. The text all but states that Wright designed the guest house, which Howe worked on later.

"Ruth [Johnson] is passionate about architecture, so she was thrilled to collaborate with Prairie Style expert Tim Quigley of Quigley Architects to restore a historic guest house on Lake Minnetonka. The structure was originally part of the Francis W. Little House, designed by Wright in 1913. (Fun fact: the Little's living room is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.) While the main house was torn down in the 1970s, John Howe, Wright’s former right-hand man and chief draftsman transformed the guest house into a year ‘round residence in the 1980s. Two decades later, Ruth and Tim collaborated with the homeowner to fully restore the home and make it amenable to modern living while honoring Howe's original vision. The project, which was a true labor of love, included reproducing Howe's original light fixtures, furnishings and other details."

" 'Our client wanted to freshen every surface and upgrade all systems inside and out, while meticulously maintaining the home's historic character. We worked with Ruth to make everything “just so," even recreating furniture that had belonged to the former owners.' " Tim Quigley

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S

Roderick Grant
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by Roderick Grant »

I know what the text says, but is it accurate? Somewhere I have Tim's contact info; perhaps I will give him a call. I suspect it is actually a later structure probably designed by Howe himself.

Storrer doesn't mention a guest house. John Geiger, who prowled about the property in the winter of 1940, while the owners were away in their Florida residence, never mentioned the a guest house, but had a very bad image of the small cottage that preceded the large house ... which does not match what we see here.

DavidC
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by DavidC »

Is this structure listed in the Jack Howe book?


David

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by SDR »

It is not. The only references in the book to the Little house involve Edgar Tafel's efforts to involve Howe in the work of dismantling and distribution of the portions of the house that were saved and placed in institutions. Thomas Hoving, the then-director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which purchased the house from the Little's daughter, Eleanor Stevenson, in 1972, was approached by Tafel to enlist the aid of Jack Howe in creating measured drawings of the house, to "guard" it during demolition to prevent theft, and to supervise the packing and crating of the parts that were to be shipped to the Met and elsewhere. Though Howe was reported to be "more than interested" in taking on the tasks, Hoving declined to acquire his services. See p. 163 of the Hession and Quigley monograph.

A note about Wintertree, the first George and Norma Johnson house by Howe (1963), mentions that the house is "not far from" the site of the LIttle residence.

S

John
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by John »

It would be helpful to stop referring to the 2nd Little house as "Northome." Northome is the area of the country that the house was located in, not the name of the house.
It was, as listed by Storrer, built in 1912 and demolished in 1972. Storrer also lists it as "Northome" and I will have to ask him about that.

SDR
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by SDR »

Wrightians can be inordinately fond of the nicknames (cognomens ? monikers ?) given to some of Wright's projects---by him, in many cases ? Auldbrass; Bannerstone House; Bridge Cottage; The Crimson Beech; Deertrack; Fallingwater; The Fir Tree; Fountainhead; Glenlloyd; Grandma House; Graycliff; Hillside House; Hollyhock House; Honeycomb House; La Miniatura; Mäntylä; Penwern; Samara; Skyview; Snowflake; Springbough; Stonebroke; Suntop; Tiranna; Toyhill; Westhope; Wingspread; Woodside House.

And Tanyderi; Ocatillo Desert Camp, Sun Cottage, Suntrap and, yes, Taliesin. I discard examples like Airplane House or Der Dampfer or The Harem, because they were not from Wright nor from the client.

Then there are the unbuilt ones: Eaglefeather; Little Dipper (a rare non-residential nicknamed project) . . .

Names for the tourists ? But I prefer them, to the double-named houses. Why stop at a second owner? In some cases, that second owner was a Wright client, or made a significant contribution to the property. I'd accept the first category, only; where do you stop, otherwise ? Should every modern-day owner-restorer expect his or her name to be added to the plaque ? Isn't the initial client's name the one undisputed and meaningful name for a property---perhaps with the addition (if you must) of a second Wright client ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: FLW/Jack Howe: Lake Minnetonka, MN Guest House

Post by Roderick Grant »

Northome was never an official name of any area. It was just an unincorporated bit of land WNW of Minnetonka, because it was northward. Charles Gibson was first to settle in the area in 1876 by building a summer cottage. Deephaven ("Two Square Miles of Tranquility") was incorporated in 1900. There is a Northome Blvd. running east/west, an extension of Minnetonka Blvd. At the entrance to the Little estate, Northome Blvd. turns south, while the driveway continues westward. Whether the area was named first or the boulevard, I don't know, but I suspect it was the amorphous area. Nevertheless, the term Northome has never been copyrighted, so it's fair game.

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