Taliesin vs Taliesin West

Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work.

I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain.Frank Lloyd Wright

You don’t have to be an architect to enjoy visiting the homes built by Frank Llyod Wright. A friend who lives in Minnesota and I decided to check out his home in Spring Green, Wisconsin. She is a photographer and I am a writer.

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 and died in 1955. He was a genius who forgot to pay the bills most of the time. He was one of the biggest collectors of Asian art. If he had money, he would by art before he bought food for his family.

Frank Lloyd Wright lived in three places, Taliesin, Taliesin West, and Oak Park outside of Chicago. He built his first house for his growing family of six kids in Oak Park. Mr. Wright built homes referred to as Praire Style and Usonian. His designs included great rooms (large living rooms) equipped with pianos, cushions of various colors, and Asian art.

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Location: Spring Green, Wisconsin

Population: 1,660

Services: Two hotels, seven restaurants, two bakeries

Activities: Not much. Small, quaint, downtown. Visit Taliesin ten minutes away.

In order to see the house, park in the parking lot of the visitor center and take a small tour bus to the house. The visitor center and the house are not connected. A restaurant in the visitor center is a school for students studying cooking. The food is very good and the service is friendly.

Taliesin was built in 1911 as the living quarters for Mamah Borthwick, Frank Llyod Wright’s girlfriend, wife of Edwin Cheney one of his clients. His first wife Catherine (Kitty) would not give him a divorce. The house was burnt down by a disgruntled employee in 1914. The house was destroyed and Mamah and her two daughters died. It was rebuilt in 1914 and destroyed for the second time in 1925 by an electrical fire.

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The bedroom at Taliesin

Taliesin shows its age. The house is in constant repair. The windows are positioned to let the natural light in. The windows allow the view of the countryside, green hills, and blooming flowers. It was raining in the second half of our tour.

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Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Population: 246,645

Services: Many hotels, restaurants, stores, bakeries

Activities: Museums, clothing stores, bookstores, restaurants, parks, and hiking

Taliesin West is located on the same property as the visitor center. There is no restaurant on the property. During the months from September to the end of May, there is a small coffee shop on site. It sells homemade sweets, granola bars, coffee, and tea. Taliesin West is located in the desert. It is very hot from the end of June to the middle of September.

Taliesin West was built in 1937. There has never been a major fire at Taliesin West. Frank Lloyd Wright called Taliesin West his desert laboratory. A place to test his organic architecture. He used sand, stones, and quartzite. These were the natural elements in the desert. He lived in AZ from October to May and in Wisconsin from May to October. He was one of the first snowbirds.

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Desert Organic Architecture (The vault)

Taliesin West is much younger than Taliesin. It is in good shape because of the weather. There is no snow or massive amounts of rain to lead to disrepair. The windows are positioned to let in as much natural light as possible. The view of the desert is not as expansive as Taliesin. There are neighborhoods popping up around Taliesin West. There is a view of the mountains and the city of Phoenix in the distance.

The only woman who lived at Taliesin West was Mr. Wrights last wife, Olgivanna, a Montenegrin dancer of Serbian origin. She was thirty years younger than Mr. Wright. She had a daughter from a previous marriage and they later had a daughter together.

Frank Llyod was an interesting character. A chance to visit his homes should not be passed up.

Written by

I am a retired ESL instructor. I am on a journey which includes writing, blogging, taking photos, and getting to know other cultures.

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