Guest blog by Fred Unwin
Community Volunteer at the Weltzheimer/Johnson House
“This summer has been one of re-discovery for me, with reference to Frank Lloyd Wright. First, there was Oberlin College Architect Pradnya Martz’s talk on the initial landscape design at the Weltzheimer/Johnson House. Her description of the proposed plantings along the East and West sides of the property with six-foot high berry bushes, instead of the current perimeter of tall trees was quite a revelation. This would have produced a connective-ness to the surrounding land (i.e. the Prairie) which is not evident today.
I began to wonder what else I could rediscover, and re-read the comprehensive AMAM Bulletin (Volume XLIX, No. 1, 1995) on the W/J House which I consider to be our “Bible.” (Available for sale at the W/J House for only $10) My understanding of which areas of the house were white-washed during the Gaeuman remodeling between 1966-68 was vague. So, I re-discovered that the workspace (kitchen) ceiling and brickwork above the cabinets and soffit were painted. Interestingly, this suggests that the “Wooster Brick Company” lettering, which is visible above the doorway to the living room, was carefully revealed when that painting was removed by Ellen Johnson. The fireplace wall in the Master Bedroom was painted and wallboard had been installed on the inside wall of the Gallery/hallway and painted, along with the ceiling and the doors for the closet. This is probably well known, but was a re-discovery for me.
Further afield, I re-visited the Martin House complex in the Buffalo area. The restoration of the house in town, Mr. Wright’s early Opus, is nearing completion. Much still needs to be done, but art glass windows have been reinstalled and there is furniture in the rooms, so you can get a feeling at to what it looked like. The Martin’s country house, Graycliff, has had the floors in the main room replaced, and with no furniture in the room the relationship with the landscape is quite prominent.
I do not know what further re-discoveries I will find, but I am off to the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids next month.”
Come out this Sunday to make your own Wright related discoveries! The Weltzheimer/Johnson House will be open THIS Sunday from 12pm until 5pm. We hope to see you there!