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Stone gate at Taliesin
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 3717
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hilltop: https://www.facebook.com/Camp-Hilltop-140619072647612/
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 897
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JChoate wrote:
This website states that "Wright dammed Jones Creek to create a pond and in 1945 added a second dam to provide a pond for Midway Farm."
http://www.bluffton.edu/homepages/facstaff/sullivanm/wisconsin/taliesin/taliesin.html

So, if the stone gateway was built prior to 1945, the driveway would not have encountered much water or the need to bridge across it. Later, that driveway would've been easily erased once the waters rose. It's interesting that, from the air, there appears to be a dotted line of trees suggesting a route.


Until someone speaks up, who knows exactly when the road in question was constructed, we'll have to take it for granted that it was in existence by 1945, and indeed, prior to 1939, because text (on page 351 of the FLLW Monograph: 1937-1941) states that Mr. Wright drew three designs for stone gates for all three entrances to the property: the one at Hillside was based on the triangle; another, near the lower dam, was based on circles and the sphere; while ... "The main gate was designed on the basis of the cube and the square."

A copy of a coloured drawing of the gate was published in the book FLLW: Drawings for a Living Architecture, (c. 1959 by The Bear Run Foundation), on page 73, entitled "FRONT GATE --- TALIESIN Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, and dated in Mr. Wright's hand: September 20, 1939.

Evidently the stone gate now in existence at the "main gate" was built in lieu of the design of 1939.

However, the existence of the stream would have required a bridge for the "main" road, no matter when the second, upper, dam was constructed, which was just (barely 20-30 feet) upstream from the road and the bridge.

After all, you don't build a road from a "main gate" that forces traffic on the "main" road to ford a running stream. You construct a bridge ... quite obviously the one being traversed by the curious cow in the photo, above, for which the photographer is apparently standing on the earthen dam, next to the spillway.

When I first visited Taliesin in 1957 ... that main road was not much used, if at all. At that time County "C" constituted the main entrance from the highway to Taliesin. Where County "C" met the highway, it split of into two directions, forming a large triangle, which Mrs. Wright and the Fellowship planted with flowers and flowering bushes. As far as I know, many of those bushes are still there, though the "triangle" was eliminated when County "C" was rebuilt.

And, to reiterate, and in answer to Roderick's question, the road in question was permanently cut when the lake level was raised, probably in the early 70's.


Last edited by Rood on Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 707
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Besinger's map from 1939, showing the "front gate" and the rather direct route from there toward the house.
As the approaching drive arrived at the foot of the slope below the house, on this map it looks like it would've been 50/50 whether to turn left of right to ascend to the top. I wonder if traffic ever went clockwise from there.


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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 897
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's almost certain that traffic from the "Front Gate" up to Taliesin would have been around to the left ... in a clockwise direction. Anyone going the other way, towards the lower dam, would be required to stop at the intersection with County "C", before turning left, and then stopping again for any oncoming traffic on County "C", before turning left, at the service entrance to Taliesin,
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 707
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boy, they really 'flipped the script'.
Makes me want to experience both sequences to see which is more pleasing.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That could presumably be done now -- perhaps even as a VR experience ?

Besinger's map -- "drawn from memory by the author" -- clarifies what has so far been less than obvious, to this reader: the path of the long-lost driveway from the orphan gate.

SDR
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 707
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, here we go.
I found this aerial photo reportedly taken in May, 1970. It shows the driveway from the "Front Gate" (just out of the frame at the lower right) leading across the pasture, across the earthen dam, where it makes a beeline straight toward the house at the foot of the hill. There it intersects the driveway that circles the house.

In this image, it appears that the driveway is starting to green over, evidence of little or no use, consistent with Rood's report that 1970 marked the beginning of its end.

From this aerial vantage point, the now lost driveway has a beautifully shaped, sinewy S curve which would have doubtlessly made for a pleasant approach at ground level. I like the idea of the gently curving approach from the distance and the incremental revelation of the house (across water), followed by the left turn taking us away from the house and it disappearing from sight. Then, we climb the hill thru a copse of trees to find another (different) glimpse of the house as it emerges across a cultivated garden. Eventually, we arrive at the appropriate entrance to the guest parking perched on the last side of the hill to be seen. From there, on foot we diagonally mount the ascending stairs to gain purchase to the inner courtyard. A multi-act play, full of variety at every scale.

All in all, a pretty wonderful journey. I regret that it is lost to us.

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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 3717
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks JChoate. That certainly clarifies things.
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1336
Location: Burlington, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wright decided to remove the cheese factory seen in the triangular area at the bottom of Besinger's map. It became a bonfire, I'm sure for a good time.
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 897
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JimM wrote:
Wright decided to remove the cheese factory seen in the triangular area at the bottom of Besinger's map. It became a bonfire, I'm sure for a good time.


Mr. Wright was even more interested in removing Rieder's Pig Farm, located immediately north of where County "C" joins the highway. What puzzles me is the building sited across County "C" from Rieder's farm ... within the area marked "Garden Site". That structure is not on Edgar Tafel's sketch of the area.
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 707
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this very long, multi-speaker lecture video there are a few glimpses of FLW home movies from the archives being unpacked at MoMA -- they start at the 22:54 mark.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyBSfmpuzPo

In the first one is this briefly seen view from Taliesin looking across the valley, showing the former entrance driveway thru the gate on highway 23, crossing the pond & pasture like a bright white ribbon:

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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm. Was some of that water (at least) arranged as we see it by the Old Man himself ? Picturesque landscape, a la Japan or Jensen or Olmsted ?

Is it the riverway itself, or an engineered byway ? In the color aerial above we see what could be a canal, arriving on Wright land from the left. Was that dug by Wright to bring water onto his land ?

SDR
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 897
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
Mmm. Was some of that water (at least) arranged as we see it by the Old Man himself ? Picturesque landscape, a la Japan or Jensen or Olmsted ?

Is it the riverway itself, or an engineered byway ? In the color aerial above we see what could be a canal, arriving on Wright land from the left. Was that dug by Wright to bring water onto his land ? SDR


I don't know, but I'd guess the landscape pictured in these photos is largely a result of the original damning up of the river. However, after Mrs. Wright discovered the pleasures of boating on Lake Lugano, she had the lower dam raised and the upper dam eliminated. During that process both lakes were drained, and extensive dredging was accomplished ... the excess "mud" was dumped in the farmland immediately adjacent to the pond. In the process both the raised water level and the dredging eliminated all but one small island.

What you suggest might be a canal is apparently part of the circular gravel road that surrounds Taliesin.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Rood.

What I see as a canal is a dark blue-gray diagonal line, up from lower left in the color aerial photo; it leads to other water -- Olgivanna's boating pond ?

S
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 897
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
Thanks, Rood. What I see as a canal is a dark blue-gray diagonal line, up from lower left in the color aerial photo; it leads to other water -- Olgivanna's boating pond ?


Oh, you mean the photo from 1970. That "canal" is the original creek bed, after the upper dam was demolished. The old, adjacent lake bottom is visible on both sides of the creek, not yet greened up.

The creek bed was also dredged to permit passage of boats upstream to a "turnaround".
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