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Article: 1953 Exhibition House - NYC, NY
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SREcklund



Joined: 26 Feb 2013
Posts: 640
Location: Redondo Beach, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Usonian Exhibition House Reply with quote

pmahoney wrote:
In 1992 Architect Leonard Wisniewski purchased the remaining 5000 pounds of fragments of the house at public auction


Is he still sitting on it?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14869
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry -- that's Suntop.


http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/holidays-martinton-widower-finds-christmastime-difficult/article_79d1dbe9-fb89-51fa-9268-159782565d23.html ?

SDR
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Education Professor wrote:
The lost Exhibition house has indeed achieved legendary status. It is such a simple yet refined design.


EP - it's very good to see you here once again. A very warm 'welcome back' to you, indeed!


David
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Usonian Exhibition House Reply with quote

SREcklund wrote:
Is he still sitting on it?


(article from 2010):

Living History Lesson

(from the article):

"I own the largest collection of fragments from a single Frank Lloyd Wright building. The Usonian Exhibition House, the building that was dismantled, that was built on the site of what is now the Guggenheim Museum, the building built as a spiral."


David
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Education Professor



Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
EP - it's very good to see you here once again. A very warm 'welcome back' to you, indeed!


Many thanks for the kind and warm 'welcome back', David! I am grateful for the chance to finally return to the group, especially following the extended hiatus of the discussion board. I look forward to learning more about 'all things Wright' from you and from our colleagues, and I also hope to be able to make a few contributions of my own from time to time. Thanks again!

On another note, I appreciate the link to the article about Mr. Wisniewski's collection of 'fragments' from the Exhibition house. I wonder which 'fragments' still exist?
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SREcklund



Joined: 26 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:45 am    Post subject: Re: Usonian Exhibition House Reply with quote

DavidC wrote:
"I own the largest collection of fragments from a single Frank Lloyd Wright building. The Usonian Exhibition House, the building that was dismantled, that was built on the site of what is now the Guggenheim Museum, the building built as a spiral."


Poking around the interwebs, I can't find anything newer than 2010 about Wisniewski; given that he was 75 at the time and recently widowed, one can't help but wonder if he's still alive. He mentioned his prolific writing; I was unable to locate any of that, either.

No matter his state, one would have to assume that the fragments will be in need of a new home sooner rather than later; as the only relics of a lost Wright structure, is it appropriate for the Conservancy to at least make inquiries about them?
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leonard is only 82. He has been around the Conservancy for many years, though I haven't been to a conference since 2002, so I don't know if he's still making the trip. He is a well-respected expert on FLW.
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is NOT verified and is hearsay on the part of docents (Usonia NY residents) at Usonia during the 2017 FLWBC Conference Saturday tour:

During the walking tour of the development, we were walked down a dead end lane to see the site of David Henken's studio and house. The studio and house were not on the tour and could be viewed from the lane only. The studio and house property had been subdivided and the two buildings were eventually used as two separate houses...they are presently in need of restoration. Close to the lane was a dilapidated shed (never fully enclosed) that was said to have been built to store building materials during the Usonia build and later the salvaged pieces of the 1953 Exhibition house. I personally, could not see a house worth of windows, doors, siding, fascias and soffits, interior trim, ceiling panels, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and cabinets being stored in that diminutive shed nor the "basements" of the relatively modest buildings seen down the hill.
According to the docent: when Monaghan "won" the auction, he very soon thereafter arranged a meeting with Henken to discuss how to get the house components moved and the whole built. Henken may or may not have leveled with Monaghan about what he did or did not have of the house...the docent implied that, in reality, there was not much that was in good condition, and much had likely rotted in the woods, if indeed it was ever all there to begin with. The docent did not however state or imply that Henken intended to deceive...that may have been the result of layman or Public Television fundraiser hyperbole. The docent said David Henken died of a massive heart attack soon after the meeting with Monaghan.

Sounds mythic to some extent, but there may be some truth in there too...just repeating what was said during the tour.


Last edited by DRN on Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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pmahoney
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Joined: 05 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:51 pm    Post subject: Leonard Wisniewski Reply with quote

I have not seen Leonard in at least eight years, but he is still active on Facebook as of 10/21/17.
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A link to the 1984 NYT article which announced the 1953 Exhibition House's
existence, or at least the existence of many of its parts.

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/06/arts/lost-frank-lloyd-wright-house-is-found.html?pagewanted=all

The article, presumably closer to the source and more accurate than the docent, notes what existed in 1984 and that the pieces had indeed been kept in Henken's basement.
Quote:

"...which include most of the plywood sheathing, virtually all of the doors and windows, inside shelves and closets and light fixtures, and a few chairs. Most are in good condition, although some pieces have suffered from three decades of storage in a damp basement. Only a dozen pieces of brick remain."
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
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Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Usonian Exhibition House Reply with quote

pmahoney wrote:
In 1992 Architect Leonard Wisniewski purchased the remaining 5000 pounds of fragments of the house at public auction


I don't know if Leonard is still with us but that last address I have for him is:
2838 N State Route 1
Martinton IL 60951-6002
(815) 428-7049
(815) 428-7556

I know he had a couple of sons.

Old architects never retire:
https://porch.com/martinton-il/architects/wisniewski-leonard-r/pp
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Education Professor



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps the Conservancy or other organizations such as Crystal Bridges or the Guggenheim may be interested in helping to find ways to preserve/restore and possibly display the remaining fragments. It could be a worthwhile effort provided the items are in salvageable condition.
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1 sheet of 3/4” plywood = 68 lbs.
1/4” plate glass weighs 3.27 lbs. / SF
Each 10’ tall French door leaf weighs approximately 80 lbs....12 of them weigh 960 lbs.
Each gallery window with its perf weighs about 22 lbs....brass door and window hardware raise these numbers.
5000 lbs is not much when the weight of building materials is added up...I suspect the reason the house has not been built is the cost of replicating what has not been salvaged. The cost to rebuild the ‘53 Exhibition house is likely significantly greater than what was spent on the Bachman-Wilson or Lindholm house rebuilds, each of which had all of their non cementicious, non framing lumber components. Leonard should be lauded for keeping the pieces as a set. I’m sure the prospect of selling off the decorative pieces, perfs and furniture, could be tempting.
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there an inventory of elements? Has anyone ever seen a photo of anything?
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, the NYT article linked and excerpted in my earlier post is the closest I’ve seen to an inventory of what was salvaged...it is not clear what the condition is of specific items.
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