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The Island Woolen Company Dam Observation Deck (1913)
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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1058

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think sometimes work accomplished by non-architects can be misinterpreted as being something greater than the evidence suggests. One does not have to be trained as an architect to develop structures based on abstract forms that exist in everyday objects, such as umbrellas, merry-go-rounds, hoop skirts etc. The addition of shells, I think, reinforce an opinion that this structure reflects the efforts of a local construction firm that did the best they could with the site.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting ...! I know what you're getting at. Certainly not impossible.

Did you notice how the central shaft of the "umbrella" seems to be a composite and non-monolithic piece of construction? I'm just going by the shots from Flickr, but it seems to have been built in two phases. First, the central support up to the slab and the slab itself with temporary supports. Then, second, the top half of the support with the chains and the temporary supports gone. This would mean that the downward weight of the slab and upper part of the central column would be the force holding the central support together. That seems precarious to me, but maybe this was the state of local technology and monolithic concrete construction?
Has anybody else noticed that in the photographs?
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait, we know that the owner of the Island Woolen Mill, Will Henry McFetridge, met and was photographed with Wright. So there is some sort of literal connection here.

I also think, after looking at the photographs again ... especially the very first one on the Prairie Mod site of the dam as a whole from a distance, that the design shows some evidence of sophistication. Just from a compositional point of view of the suspended canopy with the entire line of the dam seems to be conceived in totality. Very impressive, for a local construction company.
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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1058

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, but I don't see it - someday, hopefully someone will do the research and come to some sort of definitive conclusion.

If Wright was involved, I'd say sketch on napkin.......
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KevinW



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 1264

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps another project where Fred was involved..
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wright did not have to be involved for his influence to have been active. The influence seems obvious to me. But it does not matter to me which one of us is right. A falsified hypothesis in any case is knowledge.
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 891
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom wrote:
The Mile High Illinois is defined by floors suspended by cables from a central core. Jacobs house suspends the second floor from rods. I did not know that Monona Terrace relied upon a suspended structural scheme but I'm going to the books right now to check it out.


Monona Terrace is a separate project from the 1893 Boathouses for Lake Monona, which was designed for a lake-side plot some blocks southwest of the Monona Terrace site.

The 1893 Boathouse is illustrated (rather poorly) in Taschen. Wright: 1885-1916.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rood, I realized the mistake I made once I went to look it up. And thanks also for the association. That the 1893 Boat House is linked to the Jacobs House 2 is cool. I'll be looking at the 1893 project closer now.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7483

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

outside in, not surprised. Heinz claimed to me 25 years ago that he had restored more than 50 FLW houses. I didn't believe him.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Froebel and a mood from Japan needs to be factored into the interpretation of this project as well, not only engineering and abstraction. The element from Sullivan seems absent.
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jbdelacour



Joined: 06 Aug 2017
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very old thread that I just happened upon, but I thought I might be able to add something to the discussion. Will Henry McFetridge, the owner of the mill and, I believe the builder of the dam overlooks, was my grandfather and while discussing the Island Woolen Mill dam overlooks with Will Henry's son and my uncle, George Budd McFetridge, who passed away in 2005, George told me that there was no family knowledge that indicated those overlooks were designed by FLW.
That said, Will Henry and FLW were old friends and it is very possible that FLW influenced Will Henry in the designs of the overlooks. Will Henry, FLW and Louis W. Claude all attended the University of Wisconsin together, however Will Henry and, I believe, Louis W. Claude actually graduated. I believe they were all students of Professor Conover of the Engineering School at the University. Upon graduation, both Louis W. Claude and Will Henry were employed by Sullivan and Adler as draftsman, under the direction of FLW, while the Sullivan firm designed the Transportation Building of the Columbian Exposition. While there, Will Henry, later described his admiration for the architectural skills of FLW.
Hence, one can readily grasp how FLW's architectural genius probably influenced the construction of the Island Woolen Mill dam overlooks. However, this dam project was part of an industrial enterprise and was likely not meant to be taken as an architectural masterpiece.
As for the abalone shells? Will Henry scouted out San Diego for his second home and I believe he began construction of his Mission Hills San Diego home around 1918. My guess is that San Diego's abalone industry and readily available abalone shells left its mark on Will Henry and he decided to add those shells to his design of the overlooks.
Cheers, James Budd Delacour
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.
Thank you for posting.
It de-mystifies an enigma.
The detailed knowledge you relate here strikes me as something rare.
You actually know the name of Wright's engineering professor.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several men are named by Mr Delacour, any of whom might represent new information ?

SDR
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1997
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

... not to mention that Mr. Delacour's Grandfather went to school with Wright, worked under him in Sullivan's office. ... I find that incredible.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/transportation-building-worlds-fair-chicago-1893-designed-news-photo/516534176?#transportation-building-worlds-fair-chicago-1893-designed-by-adler-picture-id516534176
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