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There are two documents which point to Cecil Corwin as, at least the primary, architect of the Henry Mitchell House at 901 Main Street in Racine. One is a listing of the commission in the March, 1894 Journal of the Inland Architect. This page, which I have highlighted, is courtesy of the Racine Heritage Museum, and may not be reproduced without permission. Frank Lloyd Wright had already left Adler and Sullivan and had no reason to hide his work at this point. Indeed, his Bagley House commission is listed a few lines below Corwin's Mitchell House.
Second is a drawing Cecil Corwin made in 1899 when he was hired by Florence and Herbert Miles to remodel their small home in what is now the 2300 block of Washington Ave., in Racine. This drawing shows a mini-Mitchell House stuck on the back of the existing house, known as "the cottage." Would Corwin have the nerve to do this if Frank Lloyd Wright, rather than he, have designed the house? This drawing is from the McCormick Library of Special Collections at Northwestern University, and I thank Brian Spencer for telling me where the file was located, and urging me to research it. I have a photograph of "the cottage" which I got from two sources, so we know this is the Miles House.
Corwin's design was not implemented. The commission passed to Wright. I have copied a letter of his to the client from 1901, and his accompanying drawings. The (unexecuted) project was given a project number, PR# 0117, by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer in 2003 when I submitted the documentation to him. Incidentally if Wright's handwriting and return address on the envelope are not proof positive of his work in 1901, how about the fact that he sent it postage due to the client!
Let me rephrase what I am saying. "Looks like" is useful for theory and conjecture provided that is properly qualified. However when "looks like" is presented as fact, then that is wrong and grossly inaccurate. Self-certification of one's theories so as to make them fact, is very silly and very wrong. it does nothing to enhance one's reputation. Self-certification is self-serving. I admire and enjoy learning of theories and conjecture by art historians. They are thought provoking. However some totally ignore the realities of architectural practice and they attempt to make an architectural firm into mini-utopias with unlimited fees and unlimited schedules where employees sit around and leisurely come up with new ideas that a strong willed, hard core design architect like Frank Lloyd Wright magically says "that's brilliant let's build it".outside in wrote:no, "looks like" is an extremely valid approach. The Mitchell House was an overlooked building until I noticed that the art glass in the library was similar in design to the art glass in the bookshelves of the Charnley House. I called Tim Samuelson, who remembered the note in Inland Architect as being a Corwin work. I agree that looks like does not validate work being done by one architect or another, but its usually someone who notices the uniqueness of a design element that leads to new discoveries in architectural history.
Is this the Horlick Mansion you noted as being "south of Mitchell...facing the park"?
http://www.vindustries.com/racinehistor ... sion_1.jpg
Photo pulled from this page:
http://www.vindustries.com/racinehistor ... /horlicks/
Also, the Racine Christmas House, facing a park south of Mitchell, has some interesting paneling adjacent to the spindles in the photo with the brick arch fireplace. The window recesses are of interest too...scroll at this link:
Are these the possible Corwin designed candidates you noted?