Francis W. Little House fully restored

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Paul Ringstrom
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Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Roderick Grant wrote:I have relatives I won't let into my home!
Roderick,
We think alike. I have a stone on my front porch with this message chiseled into it: Friends Welcome, Relatives by Appointment

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Perhaps we won't hear again from Mrs Muir. Statements like hers are often once-and-for-all rejoinders, to real or imagined slights. One wants to remember that the Muirs were the recipients of that most unwelcome of slights: the Neighborhood Committee (aided perhaps by some in the Wright Community) calling them to task for their plans to reorder what they rightly see as Their Own Property. Our resident ambassador, Wrightgeek, and others have attempted to smooth the waters. We'll have to see what effect that may have.


I have to agree with Rood that it is all too easy to descend to aggression, in writing for this all-but-anonymous medium. I'm afraid that I may have become the current holder of the title "Most Combative Wright Chatter" -- and if so I do apologize to any and all offended parties. I admire, in hindsight, those who have shown such restraint that, in some cases, they are not heard from at all for extended periods. Better that, than to elbow one's way into the conversation only to leave a foul odor behind ?

No RSVP is called for -- but I extend my best wishes and humble gratitude to fellow Chatters, including our newest member, Mary Muir . . .

SDR

jmcnally
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Post by jmcnally »

There is a division among those who appreciate Wright's architecture - (1) those who consider it such a national treasure that the nation (or its designated subcommittee) gets to decide how it will be preserved, renovated, or used; and (2) those who consider property rights to belong to the property owner, who gets to exercise his or her judgment without undue outside interference, not matter how significant others consider the property to be.

Since I fall into the latter classification, I applaud Ms. Muir's decision to express her disdain for the first classification in this public forum. In other words, I don't believe in forced preservation without compensation.

egads
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Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

Which does bring up another thing I had meant to mention. The fact that the Muirs' probably have more into the house than they can get out of it makes the case for preservation tax credits. Of course having them and using them would require the oversight of nit pickers like us.

ross
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

SDR wrote: I'm afraid that I may have become the current holder of the title "Most Combative Wright Chatter" --
What?

If I had half the civility you consistently evidence here on Wright Chat I'd be a happy man, indeed!
Last edited by ross on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Those who've felt the rough edge of an intemperate tongue might feel otherwise -- but thank you just the same ! We do have a remarkably well-mannered and forgiving group, it can be said . . .

S

ross
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

jmcnally wrote:Those who consider property rights to belong to the property owner, who gets to exercise his or her judgment without undue outside interference, not matter how significant others consider the property to be.

Since I fall into the latter classification...

You have presented a black-white situation.

I, too, believe that the rights of a property owner trump that of interested “nitpickers�.

Certainly.

But the issue is not so simple.

I recall the 1985 situation whereby the new owners (Barton English and Michael Carey) of the Greene & Greene-designed Blacker House stripped out all the original lights fixtures, windows, etc. and sold them at great profit -- an act of vandalism known as the Rape of the Blacker House.

Sorry, but that was just wrong, wrong, wrong.

So, too, with the mint condition Neutra-designed Maslon house in Palm Springs, which new owner Richard Rotenberg promptly demolished in 2002.

I think if a property owner wants and expects the unfettered ability to do What They Want, and without outside comment, they can buy one of the many millions of anonymous houses which dot the landscape.

But when a person buys a property of known architectural significance, I believe (or wish to believe) that said purchase comes with a responsibility to protect the artistic integrity of a home which they are only temporary stewards of.

The US Supreme Court even ruled to this, in effect, when they said that the owner of Grand Central Terminal in NYC could not demolish the important structure because of its perceived value to the larger community.
Last edited by ross on Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:51 am, edited 4 times in total.

ross
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

jmcnally wrote:I applaud Ms. Muir's decision to express her disdain
I, too, applaud Mrs. Muir’s decision to express her disdain. It is HOW she did that I have issues with. One can express disdain without resorting to personal attacks.

John
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Little I

Post by John »

jmcnally wrote:There is a division among those who appreciate Wright's architecture - (1) those who consider it such a national treasure that the nation (or its designated subcommittee) gets to decide how it will be preserved, renovated, or used; and (2) those who consider property rights to belong to the property owner, who gets to exercise his or her judgment without undue outside interference, not matter how significant others consider the property to be.

Since I fall into the latter classification, I applaud Ms. Muir's decision to express her disdain for the first classification in this public forum. In other words, I don't believe in forced preservation without compensation.
I fall into the former. That's why I am a Preservationist!
It should be obvious that those of us on this Chat love these structures and want to preserve them. That someone does so is extremely commendable.
It is with great sadness and loss that I remember that Little II in MN was destroyed because there were insensitive owners (and an ignorant city council!).

It is simply not fathomable that one would destroy a house because "they own it" but that happens all the time.

Let's all strive to save every FLLW structure still remaining.

That's why it's call "The Conservancy."

ross
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

A friend of mine was a Libertarian, primary because he thought that government should not have the ability to tell him what he could and could not do with his own property.

One day I said to him: So, let’s say you’ve spent years and years beautifully restoring your home. Then the beautifully restored home next door is purchased, demolished, and replaced by a slaughter house. This is OK of course because you deeply believe that the rights of an individual property owner trump that of the larger community.

My friend furiously protested: But the value of my house would plummet!

A few months later I noticed that he was no longer a Libertarian.

Graciously, I offered no comment.

Reidy
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Your friend was not a thoughtful or well-informed libertarian if he bought into this.

Covenants and deed restrictions have long been in use to handle the sort of situation you describe. Houston, which has never had zoning laws, does it this way. People who want to live in secluded, residential-only neighborhoods pay a higher price, while those who are willing to put up with mixed use do so, more cheaply. Bernard Siegan (see Wikipedia) was a legal academic who wrote extensively on this.

The scenario is economically implausible. Land in single-residence neighborhoods is too expensive and too far from supply routes, commuter routes, parking, etc., for this to work.

The opposition of "individual" to "community" rights is a euphemistic way of saying that some individuals (called "the community") have rights over others (called "individuals"). It's a long story, but one familiar to philosophically literate libertarians.

Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

I too feel that the response by Ms. Muir to the perceived slights she felt from this forum was excessive. But I saw no harm in trying to understand her feelings, and attempting to extend an olive branch to her.

I think it is also likely that we may not hear back from the Muirs. If that is the case, that would be unfortunate for all concerned. I'm sure that both parties would benefit from a continuing back and forth exchange of ideas and information that could be beneficial to the ongoing situation. Only time will tell.

That said, I clicked on the link provided by egads to the newspaper story from several years ago. I remembered reading the story when it was first published, but I don't think I waded through the reader comments at the end of the article, which I did this time. Those comments were far harsher and more inflammatory than anything mentioned here on Wright Chat. Maybe those comments, if seen by the Muirs, contributed to the indignation she expressed in her response here. But only she knows whether that is the case.

ross
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

Reidy wrote:Your friend was not a thoughtful or well-informed libertarian if he bought into this.
The point of my comment was not how informed/uniformed my Libertarian friend was.

My friend felt he should have the unrestricted ability to do as he wished with his private property.

As things developed however, he was loath to grant the same freedom to his neighbors if such freedom resulted in his property being devalued.

ross
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

Wrightgeek wrote:I too feel that the response by Ms. Muir to the perceived slights she felt from this forum was excessive. But I saw no harm in trying to understand her feelings, and attempting to extend an olive branch to her.
I was impressed by your response to Mrs. Muir. It was incredibly gracious.

Wrightgeek
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Location: Westerville, Ohio

Post by Wrightgeek »

ross-

Thanks for the kind words.

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