Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

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ndhayes
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Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by ndhayes »

There is no malice in myths – only a shifting vocabulary and lost context as stories pass from one mind to the next. One such myth persists about Frank Lloyd Wright and gutters. https://elizabethmurphyhouse.com/2021/0 ... ugal-side/

Roderick Grant
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by Roderick Grant »

There are countless myths about FLW, both architectural and personal. For instance, the "Lincoln" myth caught on and spread like wildfire. There is no support for it, and it came from the most untrustworthy of sources, Brendan Gill. Yet it is a good anecdote, so it still flourishes, and probably will never go away entirely. On the other hand, FLW himself perpetrated a myth about his birth year being 1869 rather than 1867 that was taken as gospel for many years, until Thomas Hines refuted it by publishing multiple records of his early years, firmly establishing the earlier year as correct.

As FLW quoted Emerson, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." He did not like gutters, and there are none at Taliesin, but there are many of this Prairie houses that have them. I think he was more adamant about downspouts. The downspouts at Murphy are adroitly located to have minimal effect on the design. Those on the Bellows House would probably not have met with his approval.

Paul Ringstrom
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Roderick Grant wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 11:59 am
Those on the Bellows House would probably not have met with his approval.
I am unfamiliar with the Bellows House, please elucidate.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

toastedskin
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by toastedskin »

For instance, the "Lincoln" myth caught on and spread like wildfire.

By the "Lincoln myth" do you mean the story that FLW's original middle name was Lincoln?

ndhayes
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by ndhayes »

Roderick Grant wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 11:59 am
The downspouts at Murphy are adroitly located to have minimal effect on the design.
Must admit that the North (rear) wall downspout was positioned on the East and is visible from the street. We don't know how/why it landed there, but expect it had something to do with the sewer connections and runs (Milwaukee County had and still has combined storms/sewers. - Not something we're proud of.) Here's the view from the street. https://www.instagram.com/p/B3PVpc6nx3I ... _copy_link

Stephen Cowdery
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by Stephen Cowdery »

toastedskin wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 2:49 pm
For instance, the "Lincoln" myth caught on and spread like wildfire.

By the "Lincoln myth" do you mean the story that FLW's original middle name was Lincoln?
Yes and furthermore in Gill’s book he posits two different names: Frank Lincoln Wright and Franklin Lincoln Wright, with no support for either!

Census records from when Wright was a youth don't show either name, no shred of evidence has ever been found for either assertion and when people who knew Wright intimately were asked about it they had never heard of them.

There is no published mention of the Lincoln middle name before Gill's book.

Roderick Grant
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by Roderick Grant »

Paul, near the bottom of page 1 there is a post-FLW ASBH with a prominent downspout on the front of the house, referred to as the Bellows House.

SDR
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by SDR »

Near the bottom of page one of . . . what resource ?

Roderick is right about gutters vs. downspouts as Wright betes noir. Not only do downspouts interrupt the horizontal lines of a Wright residence, but the portion of the leader which connects the gutter to the downspout is of necessity a random diagonal, which I feel was the real insult to Wright's sensibility. Another random diagonal is the stair handrail: someone could make a count of the Wright stairways which lack one. A further clue is the absence of the diagonal baseboard accompanying the stair; look for a zig-zag substitute, composed (naturally) of verticals and horizontals, examples of which can be found repeatedly in the work of the Prairie period---at least.

Elaborate Prairie houses like Martin and Heath were equipped with proper copper gutters; instead of downspouts the architect arranged for precipitation run-off to be conducted straight down from tubular scuppers strategically located in the gutters, through the air and into collectors with pyramidal or circular receptacles found either at the tops of masonry piers (as at Heath) or on the lawn (at Martin).

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: Blog Post: The Gutter Myth and Wright's Frugal Side

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, that would be "FLW's Forgotten House," bottom of page one.

FLW used the zig-zag substitute from early on. See the Longstreth book on Charnley, pp 165-6. He went to extremes to avoid a diagonal line in 'Le Grand Escalier.' The stair is actually structured straightforwardly, with the underside of the run from second to third floor a flat, diagonal plane. But at the end of the stairs facing (but not connected to) the dense, full-height row of spindles, the stairs are made to look like a stack of rectangular boxes floating upward. The spindles eliminate the need for a diagonal hand rail. Offhand, I cannot think of another stair, save Mossberg, that was treated so grandly without at least reining it in by flanking walls, no matter how grand the house. Again in Longstreth, pg 16, note how he handles his own Oak Park stair.

DRN
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A Deep Dive into Lloyd vs. Lincoln

Post by DRN »

This is a link to a thread in which the Lincoln middle name is considered and researched, and credibility of claims in Wright biographies is called into question.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10746&hilit=lincoln

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