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Abandoned Motel St. Joseph, Michigan

 
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Unbrook



Joined: 08 Jan 2005
Posts: 706
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:37 am    Post subject: Abandoned Motel St. Joseph, Michigan Reply with quote

While browsing through the Library of Congress website, I came across a picture entitled "Abandoned Motel St Joseph, Michigan" as a Wright design.

It certainly looked "Wright", but I had never heard of it before. Does anyone have any information on this design?

(go to the Library of Congress website and type in "Frank Lloyd Wright")
Unortunately I don't know how to link to it.
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gdf



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Abandoned Motel - St Joseph, MI Reply with quote

Could it be the Snowflake Motel which may have been designed by Wes Peters (I can't remember)? If so, it was taken by to make room for condos which were never built - now just a vacant, overgrown piece of land which is beautiful property if an architecturally significant building had never been sacrificed. This is progress?
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egads



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 888
Location: Long Beach CA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If one Googles "Snowflake Motel" there are several pages of folks who have taken photos.
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jmcnally



Joined: 24 Apr 2010
Posts: 862

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The brochure at the bottom of the first link identifies Taliesin Associated Architects as architect, not Wright himself. In addition, Peters is specifically identified as the designer.

http://www.lighthousepictures.net/frank_lloyd_wright.html
http://www.jetsetmodern.com/snowflake.htm

This area of Michigan is a hotbed for genuine Wright designs.
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3623
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife and I stayed at the Snowflake twice during the summer of 1999 when I was regularly going to site meetings for some architectural projects associated with a supermarket chain in the area. The motel was in rough shape at the time, but the exterior form, the interior space created by the Douglas fir "accordian" roof/ceiling, and the diamond grid of plan were fantastic.

The roof had no insulation to speak of, and each of the five "V" shaped guest room buildings were originally heated and cooled by a single HVAC unit at the crotch of each "V"(not economical to operate). The then owner's retrofit of individual through wall HVAC units in 3 or 4 of the buildings, at the continuous window wall facing the courtyard, was awkward at best. The motel suffered from changing tastes in lodging from motels to hotels, not being near enough to the Interstate built later in the sixties, not being part of a national hotel chain with a reservation network, and being a quirky building that was expensive to operate and maintain as energy costs escalated. I wish it could have been re-purposed somehow.

BTW, the hexagon based sign for the Taliesin Visitor's Center at the former Riverside Terrace Restaurant, is based on the Snowflake Motel's original street sign, now long gone. In the Follansbee Steel ad in the lighthousepictures link above, the shadow of the original sign is visible in B&W photo near the bottom of the ad.
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