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Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, OH Website

 
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SWSinDC
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:40 pm    Post subject: Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, OH Website Reply with quote

http://www.oberlin.edu/allenart/collection/flwright.html



Good looking "right-handed L" Usonian (be sure to click the "image album" link for pictures), now owned by Oberlin College thanks to a legacy from its last owner, Ellen Johnson. Oberlin naturally refers to the house as Weltzheimer/Johnson; Storrer does not but acknowledges Johnson's efforts to restore the house to its original condition.
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Spring Green
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, Reply with quote

Thanks for the link. I could do without the fisheye lens on some of the photographs, but overall they were very nice.



yup--once again I've got to say I'd live in a Usonian house if I could.
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2236
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was very generous of Mrs. Johnson to donate the house to the Univeristy. I can understand the need for the university to use the name Weltzheimer/Johnson House. However I would hope that people come to realize the fallacy of renaming FLW Houses or any other Architect designed houses. The universal convention is that the house be named after the client that commissioned the house originally. The original client took significant financial risk in building an innovative architectural work. Their ideas and program are part of the design even with a great architect like FLW. They were an important partner in the design of the house. It creates confusion when an architectural work has two names and it just muddies up history. The second name typically comes from a later owner who does a major restoration. If the owner that did a major restoration desires recognition I suggest that one put a plaque on the house with the name of the house, architect, etc., and add a line "Restored by John and Sally Smith in 2006". Personally I appreciate the effort and expense that anyone makes in restoring any historic house, especially a Frank Lloyd Wright House. However it is the original client whose assumed substantial risk and whose vision is embodied in the the built architectural work and its contribution to world culture. Renaming works of art including important architectural works is nothing more than plagiarism of the worst sort.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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Wrightgeek



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 1548
Location: Westerville, Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, OH Reply with quote

So, Paul, based on your previous reply to this post, would it be safe to assume that you will not be lobbying Bill Storrer or the FLWBC to rename your soon-to-be new home the "Davenport-Harding Residence"?



BTW, I agree with your views on this subject completely.
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2236
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, OH Reply with quote

Wrightgeek wrote:
So, Paul, based on your previous reply to this post, would it be safe to assume that you will not be lobbying Bill Storrer or the FLWBC to rename your soon-to-be new home the "Davenport-Harding Residence"?


Correct. I will never attempt to rename the E. Arthur Davenport House. I will put a plaque on the house in a discrete location with the name of the house, FLW as Architect, which also credits my wife and I for the current restoration. Hopefully it will state that it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



Hopefully architectural historians and preservation organizations will only use the historically correct name in referring to architectural works irregardless if someone attempts to rename it. A good start would be for preservation organizations to start referring to the the Edward R. Hills Residence Remodelling by its proper name instead of the Hills-DeCaro House. I commend Bill Storrer for the using the correct name in his publications.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Weltzheimer House Reply with quote

Miss Johnson was an important part of the history of the Weltzheimer house. She was a professor at Oberlin College and was responsible for

saving the house and restoring it to the condition it is today. In the early 1960's the house was sold to a succesion of two local developers who did extensive remodeling of the structure (replacing the hallway clerestory windows with larger un-Wrightian ones, and painting brickwork and interior woodwork). The reference to the house as "Weltzheimer/Johnson"

pays homage to her and acknowledges her continuation of the dream which the Weltzheimer' had in commisioning Frank Lloyd Wright. You can call the house whatever you want, but in our hearts we will recognize

Ellen Johnson. I am a volunteer docent at the house and will extend an invitation to visit us on the first and third Sundays of every month from 12-4. As an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in the last decade of his life, it is a sublimely elegant experience.
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Wrightgeek



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 1548
Location: Westerville, Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:37 pm    Post subject: Weltzheimer House Reply with quote

I have had the pleasure of personally visiting the Weltzheimer House, and I agree with the previous poster that it is a fantastic example of FLW's later Usonian work. I would also encourage anyone reading this post to take the time and effort when in the Midwest to see this beautifully restored and cared for building.



I also agree that the restoration efforts of Mrs. Johnson and the stewardship of Oberlin College are to be highly commended. If not for their dillgence, and the ongoing work of the volunteers and docents, this masterpiece might have been lost, as many others before have been.



Having said all that, as I posted earlier, I still feel as though it should be referred to as the Weltzheimer Residence, with no disrespect to Mrs. Johnson intended.
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rgrant
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one house that should be hyphenate is Adler-Sondern. Adler built a tiny Usonian, which Sondern, with FLW doing the honors, dramatically enlarged. If John Nesbitt had followed through with his FLW-designed alterations to Ennis (to an extent corrections to Mabel's botch job), his name could have been appropriately appended. Gus Brown's name did not belong on Ennis' back, and fortunately the new board has deleted it. Oh, that they could delte Mabel.
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rgrant
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just paged through the Weltzheimer site. Beautiful photographs. The fish eye is annoying, but some of those rooms are so small, that's the only way they can be photographed. The detailing of the house is quite remarkable. The apple motif of the dentils and the cut-outs works surprisingly well. Recognition must be paid to Ellen Johnson for her contribution, but it should be more along the lines of Paul's plan to add a pertinent plaque discretely located.
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Palli Davis Holubar



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 1036
Location: Wakeman, Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joining this discussion on a practical level... nothing is cast in stone, or mortar. But as this acknowledgement to Prof. Ellen Johnson helps secure Oberlin College Administration and Alumni committment to our public responsibility, it is important now. This physical House is 56 years old; it is no longer the living, breathing home of a family and needs an "extended" family. I look forward to visits from everyone and all the engaging conversations to come.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, Reply with quote

Spring Green wrote:
Thanks for the link. I could do without the fisheye lens on some of the photographs, but overall they were very nice.



yup--once again I've got to say I'd live in a Usonian house if I could.




Yes, the fisheye lens is atrocious...it is being changed soon. I've just come to this position and have had to be patient. The new page will feature an archival photo from 1950, the year the Weltzheimers moved in. You will see Charles Weltzheimer by his car. The album will be return soon with better images as well. Keep watching this space ...It is a beautiful place. Palli Davis Holubar
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SWSinDC
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Weltzheimer House Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
In the early 1960's the house was sold to a succesion of two local developers who did extensive remodeling of the structure (replacing the hallway clerestory windows with larger un-Wrightian ones, and painting brickwork and interior woodwork).




Thanks for the background. That is really astonishing. I guess it is a good example of the perspective afforded by the passage of time. With FLLW dead only a few years, it was apparently not thought a big deal to attempt to "improve" on his work. Four decades later, his legacy having had time to solidify, we know his works to be sacrosanct and must applaud the many dedicated people who have and are working hard to preserve and restore his vision.
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