Thursday, May 10, 2007

Frank Lloyd Wright in Alabama?

Did you know that the renowned Frank Lloyd Wright designed a house in Alabama? I would never have guessed, but he did. Recently I was at the NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association) Annual Convention in Little Rock, Arkansas, and while there picked up a few brochures and CDs of course. It turns out that Wright designed a house for newlyweds Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum of Florence, Alabama, in 1939. The house is the only structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state of Alabama, and the only such house in the southeast that is open to the public.

This unique house constructed of cypress, glass and brick, it turns out was built in what Wright refer to his Usonian Style, named for the United States of America. Apparently this was Wright's version of designing for the masses, and with Wright’s plans, a young family could build their own home, fulfilling the American dream of home ownership.

Sitting on a two-acre lot, very near downtown Florence, Alabama and facing the Tennessee River its not clear just how middle-class this family was but the Usonian style house originally contained 1,540 square feet, but when the Rosenbaum household grew to include four sons, the family called upon Wright to design an addition. In 1948, 1,084 square feet was added, containing a larger kitchen, a guest bedroom, storage space and a dormitory for the boys. This seamless addition verifies Wright’s concept of a Usonian house that could grow with the family as it grew. The Rosenbaums were the sole owners and occupants of the house until 1999, when it was purchased by the City of Florence. The house is the only structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state of Alabama, and the only such house in the southeast that is open to the public. To find out more about this unique piece of Americana visit here.

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