Planning FLW Driving Tour - Help Needed.

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Planning FLW Driving Tour - Help Needed.

Post by DavidC »

My wife and I will be doing a driving tour of some FLW sites in the beginning of October. The states we will be visiting include Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. We plan on visiting all of the publicly available sites, as well as driving past and seeing as many of the private homes as we can. To help us find these homes we have the Storrer Guide to Extant Structures (1994) and the Heinz Field Guides for these regions (Vol #1 - 1996 & Vol #2 - 1999). We have noticed a few discrepancies between the two when it comes to whether or not a particular house is actually viewable from public property. Specifically for our trip, the following three houses are listed in the Storrer Guide as being visible from the street, but are listed in the Heinz Guide(s) as not being visible from the street:

1.) Bulbulian House - Rochester, MN

2.) Grant House - Cedar Rapids, IA

3.) Sunday House - Marshalltown, IA

In planning ahead, it would help us to know which homes/cities to visit and which non-visible ones to pass up. We are hoping that by asking here someone with knowledge of these homes will be able to set things straight, particularly for the Iowa houses.

Thank you for your time and help with this matter.


Posts: 561
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:28 pm
Location: Missouri

Hey I can help you!

Post by hypnoraygun »

David, send me a private message if you want on here. I can help you with all of the MO locations. Not getting into them, but just where they are, how to see them etc. The only Home to tour in MO is the Kraus home, right outside of St Louis, MO. See below. Make sure to CALL before going to get a reservation. It is Very much worth going to this house.

Also don't miss the Wainwright Building by Louis Sullivan in St. Louis, MO. and also the Wainwright Tomb in Bellefontain Cemetery. Also buried in the Cemetery is William Clark (Louis and Clark) and Adolphus Busch (Mr. Budweiser, the Brewery Tour is very nice as well.. Free tastes at the end!). Also the Lemp Family is buried there. (Lemp Beer.. Before Budweiser)

You can tour the Community Christian Church in Kansas City, MO.

I've never done this tour. You can just walk in. This is one of those places that Wright kind of washed his hands of, and you can tell.

The Grant house in Cedar Rapids, can barely be seen. I drove up there, but it is kind of hard to see. I think it is worth going by it though. It isn't too hard to find. I really like that house. I was told by the tour guide at the Lowell Walter house that they may eventually open this house for tours.

Speaking of The Lowell Walter house. You should definatly go there. ... _rock.html It is a really beautiful setting for the house.

Here is also a site on the Iowa houses.

The two houses in Oskaloosa can be seen okay. Well one, so so, the other very well.

If you need any help let me know! I hope this helps..


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Wright sites

Post by PWhitt4654 »

Another good guide is Arlene Sandersons, "Wright Sites" A Guilde to Frank Lloyd Wright Public Places.

Mark Hertzberg
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:51 am

Post by Mark Hertzberg »

Racine, Wisconsin:

SC Johnson Administration Building: Tours on Fridays, by reservation, 262.260.2154. You walk past the Research Tower, but it is not open.

You can drive past the Hardy House, just a few blocks east on 14th Street until you hit Main Street, turn north or left, and it is right there. It is privately owned, and not open.

Wingpsread, self-guided tours by reservation, depending on whether or not there are conferences at the time, 260.639.3211

Some of what you can see of the Keland House from the street is from the ca: 1961 addition and remodeling by Jack Howe

(History and photos of all in my "Wright in Racine", Pomegranate, 2004)

In Milwaukee, take a look at the unique grouping of six of Wright's American-System Built homes in the 2700 block of W. Burnham (go to to learn more).

Mark Hertzberg
Mark Hertzberg

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Location: Lake City, Iowa

Post by PSTraveler »

I hope you will be able to visit Mason City, Iowa. After Labor Day, I believe that Wright's Stockman House is only open for tours on the weekend. Wright's Park Inn Hotel, etc. is only a few blocks away.

When in Mason City, plan to visit the collection of Prairie School houses around Rock Glen, which is literally across the street. Many are the work of Walter Burley Griffin, but Barry Byrne, Wm. Drummond and local architects are also represented. Mason City resident Dr. Robert McCoy has written extensively on his city's architectural history. His walking tour guide book is available from the Chamber of Commerce and other local sources (I bought several copies at the Stockman House).

Another humble source of information is my site, the Prairie School Traveler. Click here for information about PS buildings in Mason City.

Have a great trip!

John Panning

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

In Minneapolis, both Neils and Willey can be seen from the street easily. If you want to see Lovness, since it's on the market, it should not be too difficult to arrange, especially if Virginia is no longer in residence. But without arrangements, it cannot be seen from the road. The Mpls Institute of Arts has a Northome exhibit. Also go to the Purcell-Cutts House by Purcell & Elmslie in the Lake of the Isles neighborhood. It's open for tours, though I don't know the schedule. It is one of the finest Prairie houses ever built. Another P&E house is Hoyt in Red Wing, MN. The corner lot house is visible from the street. While both Bulbulian and Sunday are visible from the street, all you can see at either is garage. You won't see much worth the effort, especially at Bulbulian, which is a really lousy house. While in Wisconsin, as you drive toward Taliesin, you will undoubtedly encounter signs leading to House on the Rock. Save your time and money; it's the biggest tourist trap in the state and not worth 10 minutes of your time.

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Post by Reidy »

Sullivan did a number of small-town banks around the midwest in later years. The one in Owatonna MN, about a mile east of Rt. 35, currently Wells Fargo, is in beautiful condition and open during business hours. If you go to Minneapolis and Mason City, it's on the way between them.

Olfelt, in St. Louis Park, is easy to see from the street.

One to miss is Gavidaae Commons, a mall in downtown Minneapolis. When they have an empty storefront, they board it up with a 3D copy of the Hollyhock fireplace. When they have two, they use a pastiche of Wrightian motifs including the Storer block. Some of the walls are decorated with the Coonley Playhouse windows in earth tones. (What ever happened to plaster dinosaurs?) The Art Institute has some Prairie-school holdings including a room from the Little house. If you're interested in contemporary architecture, the new Guthrie ( ... River.html) and the new central library are worth seeing.


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While in St. Louis Mo.................

Post by mike »

While in St. Louis Mo.................

If you go to see Sulivans "Wainwright Building" walk 3 blocks north to see The Union Trust on olive also by Sullivan.

Look up as the lower two floors were modified in the 1920's but from the 2nd floor up is all original.

If you are a huge fan of Sullivan go to see Richard Nickels "sullivan collection" at SIUE on the east side of St. Louis in Edwardsville Illinois.

(why nobody in Chicago wanted this stuff blows my mind!!! although he did have friends at SIUE)

Wright's Pappas house (near Hwy. 40 & Mason Road) is not visable from athe street or highway. Mrs. Pappas still lives in the home.
St Louis

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Post by DavidC »

Thank you all very much for your help and for taking time to reply. I should have posted our itinerary in the original thread. It is as follows:

Start our FLW viewing in WI and visit the sites we hadn't been to on our previous trip there: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, tour Seth Peterson Cottage, drive-by German Warehouse.

Then onto MN where we will visit the Fasbender Medical Clinic, Lindholm Service Station and also drive by the rest of the viewable houses in the state.

Next, to IA to visit the City National Bank and Park Inn Hotel, (sadly, no tour of the Stockman House since we won't be there on the weekend), tour Rock Glen, tour Lowell Walter House and also drive by the rest of the viewable houses in the state.

Finally, onto MO where we will visit the Kansas City Community Christian Church, tour the Kraus House and also drive by the rest of the viewable houses in the state.

Add onto all of this this that we will also be touring three Japanese Gardens (Rockford, IL - Minneapolis, MN - St. Louis, MO), five Laura Ingalls Wilder sites (Pepin, WI - Walnut Grove, MN - De Smet, SD - Burr Oak, IA - Mansfield, MO), seeing a Tiffany exhibit at the St. Louis Museum of Art - and we will be having a rather fast, furious and action-packed trip.

Again, thank you all so much for your assistance.


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Post by guestnow »

TnGuy: Looks like you might be going by/through Red Wing. Check out out the Prairie-style Hoyt House. If you get as far south as Winona MN, check out the couple of Prairie houses in Fountain City WI and the few outstanding Purcell and Elmslie, and George Maher buildings in Winona, MN

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Post by DavidC »

Thought I would update this thread seeing as my wife and I finished our trip earlier this week - (the following is a list of the houses/buildings we saw).

Ones we did official tours of:

Seth Peterson Cottage, WI

Lowell-Walter, IA

Kraus, MO

Ones we did unofficial tours of:

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, WI

Fastbender Medical Clinic, MN

Lindholm Service Station, MN

Ones we walked around the exterior of (and peeked inside a bit):

Petit Chapel, IL

German Warehouse, WI

City National Bank and Hotel, IA

Stockman, IA

Community Christian Church, MO

Ones we drove by:

Laurent, IL

McBean, MN

Keys, MN

Bulbilian, MN

Wiley, MN

Neils, MN

Olfelt, MN

Miller, IA

Elam, MN

Meier, IA

Grant, IA

Sunday, IA

Alsop, IA

Lamberson, IA

Trier, IA

Bott, MO

Sondern, MO

Also, while in Mason City, IA we drove past the Rock Crest/Rock Glen prairie homes.

We thoroughly enjoyed each aspect of the trip. I would not be able to pick a favorite from the three official tours we did - each home was truly wonderful. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed both the Fastbender Medical Clinic and the Lindholm Service Station. It was great to see the City National Bank and Hotel being restored so carefully. And sad to see the German Warehouse decaying so badly. The Community Christian Church has very little "feel" of Wright. Whereas the Greek Orthodox Church had a complete "feel" of Wright. The houses we drove by were mostly Usonian - and all fantastic. We were able to get good looks at almost of them - with Sunday and Sondern being the least visible.

Overall, it was great to expand our knowledge, experience and list of Wright buildings. Having stayed at the Cheney, IL house a few years back, I think it may soon be time for us to take a few days in one (or more) of the Usonians available for rent - to be able to soak in over a longer period of time the design/style that we have now come to enjoy most of all.


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