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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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
Monograph 5, 1985
Taschen II, 2009
William Allin Storrer, 1993
W A Storrer
Photo Replinger 1951
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)