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Clarence E. Shepard / Fireproof House for $5,000

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:21 pm
by hypnoraygun
I was in Kansas City for the last two days taking pictures of buildings and being told I would be fired soon. Lovely... anyway.. While there I looked up some homes I haven't seen before. 3 Bruce Goff homes, and also some Clarence Shepard homes. I didn't know this, but apparently he was an apprentice of Wright? Does anyone know any more details about him? I did find this blurb on a PDF file here... ... 3BAFA9.pdf

Here is the part I saw about him and Wright..

"From 1902 to 1905, Shepard was employed as a draftsman in the Oak Park studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. (In 1989, this connection to Wright could not be verified, but by 1998 Shepard was being listed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation as one of those who had been employed there.) The years with Wright would prove to be a defining moment for the young architect, as in future years he would become the foremost designer of houses in the Prairie Style in the Kansas City area. "

ALSO one of these homes was a take off of Wright's Fireproof house for $5,000? It happens to be for sale as well. But I think I would need the asking cost to make the inside restored. YIKES! What do you all think?

Here is the listing... ... isting.htm

Here is a page about it on The Prairie School Traveler page.. ... gates.html

I am just curious if anyone knows more about Shepard and this being a Wright Fireproof House..

Thanks! I took some pictures and may post them later..

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:46 pm
by PNB
Love the exterior but the interior - yuck! It will take a lot of $$ to redo the inside - still $210,000 doesn't sound like a bad price.

Actually it made me feel a little better about my own renovation project - a house that was owned by someone who must have watched too many of those terrible do it yourself/design shows on HGTV.

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:59 pm
by PSTraveler
Gleaned from various sources:

Clarence Erasmus Shepard was born on 27 October 1869 in Cortland, New York. His family moved to Kansas in 1880; he moved to California in 1895 and studied architecture at UC-Berkeley. He became acquainted with California painters William Keith and James Martin Griffin. He returned to Kansas City c. 1905, established an architectural practice there, and is said to have designed more than 600 homes, including one for himself in Tudor style at 1300 Santa Fe Road. He died in Kansas City on 30 April 1949.

Clarence E. should not be confused with Charles E. Shepard, another Kansas City architect involved in partnerships with Albert C. Wiser and Ernest H. Farrar.

A housing cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin was designed by Shephard in 1929; this Wikipedia article repeats the notion that Shepard was FLW's foremost disciple in Kansas City, though it's hard to find built evidence of that.

A history of Kansas City's Hyde Park neighborhood has a drawing of Clarence Shepard's house at 3707 Harrison Blvd., as well as some images of the other Shepard's work.


Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:03 pm
by hypnoraygun
Thanks for the information! I think I found most of that, but it does help that it is in one place. Does anyone know of a comprehensive list of his work?

Here is one of the pictures I took.


Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:34 pm
by SDR
Great picture ! Don't you love the strong color ? There's certainly no doubt about the influences of this design -- but it's strongly original as well. I wish this were our prevailing turn-of-the-century architecture, rather than the commoner styles of the period.


Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:43 am
by DRN
Did you see Goff's Searing house?

I thought of it as Goff at his most elemental...his haiku.

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:53 am
by SDR
I just can't get past the decorations. Whatever Goff has to offer is seriously compromised (for me) by his tendency to accessorize his houses. . .sometimes in truly silly ways.

Sorry, Goffers. Is it fine poetry, or perhaps pulp science fiction, that I'm immune to ?


Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:12 am
by DRN
True, Goff's ornament can be a bit distracting. Many see the ornament or colors and can't look beyond those elements.

I've always admired his houses though, for the way they truly rethink the concept of home. They are non-formulaic; they are design for that client and no one else. The houses are based, right down to their basic spacial organization, to the client's specific needs, wants, and lifestyle. I believe they are often so strongly disliked (and hard to sell) because they are so "tailor made".

I am also inspired by the ingenuity with which Goff used materials. His use of glass cullet as a masonry unit, or is adaptation of Quonset Hut framing in the Ford house being most notable.

Different strokes...

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:34 pm
by hypnoraygun
Yes I did see Goff's Searing house and a few others. I lived in KC for 5 years but didn't get into Goff as much then. So when I go there (3 hrs away) I try to see new things.

I have to say his stuff IS different, and some of it not so attractive, but that is why I do like it. He wasn't afraid to do something different.

Here is a link to the Goff homes I have visited.. ... 765144125/

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:10 pm
by SDR
Bruce Goff meets Will Bruder ? ... l-projects

I like that 'desert animal'. . .


Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:21 pm
by jlesshafft
Those are some seriously ugly homes.