While most of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work lies in the northern part of the state, a significant home he designed sits a few blocks south of the state capitol in Springfield.
Built just over one hundred years ago, the 12,000+ square foot house was the largest he designed until that time. In 1902, heiress Susan Dana commissioned Wright to create a ‘showcase’ for entertaining that would ultimately have 35 rooms, 16 major spaces and more than 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture in Prairie Style design.
I’ve been to the house ten or so times over the years and have done a few segments on it for television, and still find it an amazing piece of art and architecture.
When I was younger, I thought the bowling alley in the basement was cool; today I’m still fascinated by the detail that went to the project on so many different levels. Some of it, such as the glasswork, is in 2D, while the trim and exterior frieze were designed in 3D, incorporating depth as well as horizontal and vertical elements.
In addition to the main house, there’s a visitors center and gift shop in the carriage house. If you’re ever in Springfield around Christmas, it’s definitely a must-see, as the volunteers decorate the house as it might have looked in the early 20th century.
While the house had been closed to the public by the previous governor, it was reopened by Governor Pat Quinn in April of 2009, and is again available for tours.
To learn more about Scott, check out his bio.
Dana-Thomas House Foundation:
Dana-Thomas House on the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency site: