Article: Little House (Peoria, IL) restoration

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DavidC
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Article: Little House (Peoria, IL) restoration

Post by DavidC »


outside in
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Post by outside in »

sounds like things are going well - the comments are disturbing, however, I continue to be amazed by the general lack of civility in this country - what in the world happened? Is this some kind of post 9/11 backlash?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The only concern I have about the proposed alterations, which seem to be restorations, and who can argue with that? is the plan to alter the approach. FLW's split walkways with the garden in between were a part of the plan that should be considered unalterable. It sounds like they're planning to do away with it. As for the civility, It sounds like "ghostwhisperer" is the lone crank whose comments should be ignored. We've had a few of those on this site over the years.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Is this the FLW house in Peoria where they demolished the masonry on the rear of the house without all of the necessary approvals? The fence in the foreground of the photo doesn't look too authentic.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

pharding wrote:Is this the FLW house in Peoria where they demolished the masonry on the rear of the house without all of the necessary approvals?
yes it is.

Below are BEFORE and AFTER photos taken 2/09 and 8/09 respectively.
I don't know what they are doing behind the black tarp at the front of the house. I also appears that all of the stained glass windows have been removed.

BEFORE
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AFTER
Image
BEFORE
Image
AFTER
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BLACK TARP
Image

pharding
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Post by pharding »

outside in wrote:sounds like things are going well - the comments are disturbing, however, I continue to be amazed by the general lack of civility in this country - what in the world happened? Is this some kind of post 9/11 backlash?
Going well? The above post is one of the more bizarre posts that I have read here. I don't understand what 9/11 has to do with this. How can one defend the owner's flouting of the local laws and demolishing major parts of a very important FLW house? Who is lacking in civility?
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

More than one Wright owner has "demolish[ed] major parts of a very important FLW house" without apology. It appears (from what is written)
that the present owners are making a concerted effort at correct restoration. There will often be doubts on all sides as to what constitutes
"original."



It is interesting to see how current political issues work their way into unrelated discussion, as the overflow from the all-too-apparent rent in the
national fabric affects us all. We can only hope for a return of sanity and civility. . .sooner or later.


SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I'm not too concerned about civility; what passes for civility today seems more like political correctness, which, along with multiculturalism, is one of the idiot twins of modern American culture. But if one is to be uncivil, one should at least be witty. Ghostwhisperer sounds like an adolescent trying to provoke by saying naughty things and is not witty.

What is the chronology of changes to Little? Did the current owners do damage to the original fabric, or was it an earlier owner? It sounds to me as if the current owners have the best interests at heart ... at least one can hope.

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

The previous long-term owners (the Swarderskis) stripped the house of fixtures and furniture to fund their retirement, but to their credit did not alter the structure.

The house was sold for around $450K.

The current new owners did the recorded damage in an effort to remake the house in their image and seemed not to know or care that they were making serious additions/renovations to a Wright structure until the neighborhood blew the whistle on them with the weak-kneed Historical Preservation agency. The FLWBC got involved at this point and offered their expertise. Whether that advice sunk in or not is unclear.

Only time will tell if the current owners plan to be stewards of the home or not. We, of course, will welcome them into the club once their heart is in the Wright place.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Going well? The above post is one of the more bizarre posts that I have read here. I don't understand what 9/11 has to do with this. How can one defend the owner's flouting of the local laws and demolishing major parts of a very important FLW house? Who is lacking in civility

The earlier post was made on the anniversary of 9/11 - and on that date I recalled how most people were united in our horror of the event, and everyone seemed to be far more considerate of other people, i.e., kindness. I have noticed that many preservationists, etc. are not altogether kind when it comes to their opinion of actions taken by others on historic homes. They somehow lose their manners, and justify their rudeness with their passion.

Well-designed additions made to Wright houses are not necessarily a bad thing - in fact they sometimes ensure a happy owner and greater investment in the historic portion of the building. Hopefully the owners of this house have gone through the learning curve and will make the right decisions in the future.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

The original meaning of the word "civility" had little to do with courtesy or politeness, but according to Merriam-Webster, in 1533 it meant "training in humanities".

Roderick- Multiculturalism: one of the "idiot twins of modern American culture?" Strong stuff...Could you elaborate?

Again, from Merriam-Websters:

multicultural, Date 1941: "of, relating to, reflecting, or adapted to diverse cultures..."
Last edited by peterm on Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Well-designed additions made to Wright houses are not necessarily a bad thing - in fact they sometimes ensure a happy owner and greater investment in the historic portion of the building.
I agree with outside in. Some changes made to Wright houses are necessary to keep the houses relevant to the current users which enables the houses to remain viable as houses, thus protecting them from disuse or future tear down. The Davenport house for instance, would be unusable with a coal stove, an ice chest, limited counter space, and a washboard and tub; I also suspect it may now have more than one toilet. By contrast, the Pieper house needed work, but not the monstrous aggrandizement it recieved.

Changes sensitively done, keep the houses useful. There are not enough people or entities in this country that have both the interest in Wright's architecture and the financial means to own, maintain, and restore these houses without concern for their own financial well being at the end of their ownership. I realize "membership in the club" is like owning a classic car: you don't get all the money you put in back out, but joy of the experience of ownership provides some payback...just the same, they say you can't eat your house...for most of us, the house will have to sell someday at a reasonable price.

I don't know what was happening in Peoria, but I do believe that any changes made should be carefully considered, carefully documented, harmonious, reversible, and in the case of additions, delicately and logically adjoining as at Glore, or detached altogether.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

DRN -- Do you intend to "move up" or at least "move on" from the Sweeton house, someday ? Will you have developed a need or a desire
for more room, or a more prestigious address -- or another project ? Will you have become bored with the sublime -- or at least the sublime that this
particular Wright design represents ?

Without in the least disparaging such plans and motives, and acknowledging my own lifelong status as tenant rather than owner, I have
to ask the larger community: When did it become the default position, that the typical homeowner aspires to a succession of accommodation,
making each present address a temporary one, with one eye always on "curb appeal," and the anticipated transfer of affection from this address
to the next one ? Was this the result of a fifteen- or twenty-five-year-long housing bubble, with its intrinsic conversion of the home from "family
shelter" to "equity vehicle" ? Or was it simply part and parcel of the ever-escalating vision of the American Dream -- "What's good enough for the
Astors and the Anistons is good enough for me" ?

I would be interested to hear how others here would answer those questions. My own assumption was that the ideal would be, as it was for
Eric V Brown (for instance), to acquire the ideal home (as he saw it) and then to change it only as necessary to properly accommodate his family's
(inevitably) evolving needs. But I have to admit that the Wright clients who remained lifelong Wright owners must be something less than 30%
of his total clientele. (Is that about right -- or way off ?)

SDR

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The goal for my wife and I is to own Wright's Davenport for 30 years. Although this goal was almost truncated prematurely on July 5. While riding my bike in rural Kane County, Illinois, I was struck by a car going 55 mph. I was hospitalized for three weeks with a broken back, broken tail bone, broken leg in two places, opened pelvis, internal bruising, etc. I am still not back to work. I am blessed that God spared my life.

Image
Last edited by pharding on Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

Paul-

Very sorry to hear about your accident. Sounds as though it was quite awful, and certainly must have been quite traumatic for you and your loved ones, I'm sure. Good to hear that you seem to be on your way to recovery. Thanks for letting the rest of us know, and best wishes for a complete return to health.

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