Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio transfers to Oak Park custodians
Updated: June 11, 2012 9:00AM
Ownership of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio will be transferred to an Oak Park group.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust and National Trust for Historic Preservation announced Monday that it has assumed ownership of the famed architect’s home and studio, 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park.
For nearly four decades, the Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust operated the site in cooperation with the Washington, D.C.-based National Trust. As an innovative preservation strategy at the time of the original purchase nearly 40 years ago, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust was given the option to acquire the property during the term of a lease with the National Trust.
From July 2011 to January 2012, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, a privately funded non-profit organization, conducted a capital campaign to gather sufficient local donor support to finalize the purchase. Now as owner, the Preservation Trust will initiate a public campaign to establish a Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Fund for the perpetual upkeep and maintenance of Wright’s Home and Studio.
“I grew up in Oak Park and was always aware of the importance that the Home and Studio played in this community,” said Graham Rarity, Preservation Trust Campaign chairman and board member. “I have discovered that so many others feel the same. This is an affirmation of our organization and our community.”
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust was originally launched in 1974 as a local grassroots effort to purchase and restore Wright’s historic Oak Park Home and Studio. The organization now operates three historic Wright-designed sites throughout the greater Chicago metropolitan area: Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park, Robie House on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park, and The Rookery in central downtown.
Since its inception, the Preservation Trust’s staff — along with preservation architects, historians and community volunteers, and with the assistance of the National Trust — have not only restored and maintained the world-renowned historic house museum and architectural laboratory, but have presented the complex to the public continuously through its extensive touring and education programs.
“The original spirit of our agreement with the National Trust was an acknowledgement that the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust would be capable of the financial and other responsibilities of independent ownership of this important cultural property. On behalf of our Board, staff, volunteers and members at large, we are excited to assume this responsibility,” said Jim Schiefelbein, chairman of the Preservation Trust Board.
“We’re also very grateful to our partners at the National Trust for their friendship and steadfast support these many years, and for their unwavering commitment to the historic preservation of significant properties throughout the United States,” Schiefelbein said.
“The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is a great American preservation success story,” said Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust. “We were delighted to assist the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust when they needed it most. They have grown over the years into a strong internationally recognized preservation and education organization. We remain allies in our shared dedication to preservation and are gratified by the enduring importance of the historic site.”