Seeking Info on Abby Beecher Roberts House, Marquette, MI

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John
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

NMU

Post by John »

And, NMU has, I believe, the largest wooden-domed sports arena in the country. Worth a visit.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I wonder if it's a lamella dome. . .



SDR

Snowscrapper
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:12 am

Post by Snowscrapper »

mwindsand, I wonder if the FLW house you heard about is the childhood home of John Lautner. It is right across the street from the Cohodas building on Presque Isle Avenue. You can see photographs from the John Lautner Foundation website Picasa album at http://picasaweb.google.com/johnlautnerfoundation. I don't want to copy any of the photos because of copyright. I will take photos next week if anyone is interested. John Lautner was the son-in-law of Abby Beecher Longyear Roberts, the owner of the FLW house in Marquette. I believe both he and his first wife interned under FLW. John Lautner was the architect for Bob Hope's house. As for the granddaughter that lives in the FLW house, it is interesting that most people don't realize there are even descendents here of the Longyears. Abby Beecher Longyear's mother became a good friend of the founder of the Christian Scientist Church. They had their mansion moved (by 190 train cars) form Marquette to Brookline Massachussets, where I believe Mrs. Longyear bought homes, etc. to preserve the history of the Christian Scientist founder. It is quite fascinating that the granddaughter that lives in the FLW house now came from 2 VERY famous bloodlines.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist (or the Christian Science Church).

John E Lautner, Jr joined Wright in 1933 or '34. He remarks that he "placed most of the stones" in the drafting room masonry of Taliesin West.
He drew and supervised the Johnson residence (Wingspread) and the Roberts house (Deertrack) before going to LA to oversee Sturges and Oboler.
Then he started his own practice.

SDR

shindman
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:05 pm

Deertracks, Marquette

Post by shindman »

I just took a drive by the house. It appears to be going through some renovations. It is very easy to find...turn right on 492 (behind Culver's/Rd Lobster) & the house is on the left (a mile-ish..before the intersection of 492 and Grove).

Having grown up in Springfield, IL, I was quite familiar with the Dana-Thomas house...moved here in 1996 and had NO IDEA another FLW house was in my midst until today. What a pleasant surprise!

Cynthia G
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:55 pm

Abby Beecher Roberts house

Post by Cynthia G »

My family lived in Deertrack Village for about three summers in the early 60s, along with a combination of hardy full timers and other summer-only residents. We all (even the kids) knew that Abby Roberts' house (that's what we called it) was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I don't remember what our connection to the big house was, other than living there, but I remember being in it several times. Pretty spectacular, even from an adolescent's point of view. The grounds ---- woods ---- were interesting and great fun for kids. We were told - who knows what's true - that "rich people" from Detroit used to have auto caravans up to stay at Deertrack Village - sort of an early 1900s camping experience. Don't know if/how the FLW house figured in this. Nestled in various parts of the pretty large acreage were (are?) a small amphitheatre, a chapel, a pond and little beach and a network of paths. Mostly overgrown or on their way to being even in the early 60s. No pictures of the FLW house alas so I'm thrilled to see those on this site.

electromus
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:10 pm

Abby Beecher Roberts house

Post by electromus »

I am the nephew of the Lady who has lived in this house for over 50 years, and have been in this house uncountable times. I may be able to help with some of these questions.
1. The house is located on 492 directly across from the eastern entrance to the Bishop woods subdivision. If you are coming from US41 it is past the snowmobile trail(former Rail grade) around the turn and the second left just after bishop woods before the turn. If you get to Grove street you have gone too far. It is very easy to miss, so look for the twin driveways just before the curve right. My aunt is a very busy lady who enjoys her privacy so I would recommend inquiries to be scheduled and respectful, and the property is private so do not just show up taking pictures.
2. It is the main house of a 15 cabin village named Deertrack and yes, it was a retreat for the affluent before it was converted into rentals. It is a very beautiful place and has a nice little pond with a sandbar and picnic area, and a very large archery that nestles in the back acreage of the property.
3. Karol (Lautner) Peterson, owner, is the direct great granddaughter of John Longyear, granddaughter of Abby and Senator Alton Roberts, and Daughter of Mary Faucentine Roberts and John Lautner. Abby Roberts lived in this house and managed the property until Karol purchased and began maintaining the property and has ever since. I am her youngest sisters son, Henry Beecher de Roche, and my grandfather Robert Lindsay (de)Roche was also an architect and pupil of Mr. Wright's, though nowhere near as successful as John Lautner.
4. Renovations have been occurring my entire life (30 years), as Karol's husband is a brilliant lifelong carpenter and designer. Most of the improvements have been made to the exterior (car port, roof, added deck with swimming pool in the back) and the TV room and master bedroom where the couple spends most of their residence. The large living room has remained nearly entirely original, and the kitchen has never changed in my life. Off of the Northwest side of the kitchen is a couple of rooms that is used for Mrs. Peterson's sewing area/doll shop where she produces a very popular line of Doll Clothing for each years craft show. I do not know the extent of the plans for renovation, but I do know that the harsh winter months propose serious heating issues for the house and that factors in what get remodeled and when. There is a servants quarters off of the north side of the garage which joins the Big house and the servants residence. For as long as i remember this has been a rented out apartment to very private people.
This house is very much in the style of FLLW as it blends beautifully into its property, and is horizontally designed, and makes very good use of tucking spaces and using two small entries in the grand living room. There was some dispute as it is told between FLLW and My Great Grandmother ABR in some of the design, although I am not sure the details of this disagreement. Any questions feel free to ask!

John
Posts: 418
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Roberts House

Post by John »

Thank you, Henry, for sharing this information with us.
I'm sure there will be many questions forthcoming.
I met your Uncle when I visited a few years back and could tell that he was a very accomplished carpenter.
Those are my photos posted on this site by Paul Ringstrom.
Thanks for joining WrightChat!

electromus
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:10 pm

Post by electromus »

Thank you John:)

Louis.dupont
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:04 pm

Re: Seeking Info on Abby Beecher Roberts House, Marquette, MI

Post by Louis.dupont »

Hello. My name is Lou DuPont, and I was wondering if there are any plans to restore the home. I was there recently, and it is in disrepair. I heard that it was abandoned. If anyone has information about the house, and would pass it along, you will have my gratitude. Thank you.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Seeking Info on Abby Beecher Roberts House, Marquette, MI

Post by SDR »

It's a pleasure to have this vintage thread revived. I hope someone will be able to answer Mr DuPont's query.

To make up for a fourteen-year deficit of visual information on Deertrack, here is most of what's been published in the standard sources.

Image Monograph 5, 1985

Image Taschen II, 2009

Image William Allin Storrer, 1993

Image T 3603.004

Image T 3603.02

Image W A Storrer

Image

Image T 3603.1

Image T 3603.11

Image

Image

Image Photo Replinger 1951

Image Photos pub. 1993 W A Storrer

© 1993 by William Allin Storrer, "The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion"
© 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH, © 1985 A.D.A. EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd., © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

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