SPRING GREEN, Wis. — The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright is forever linked to Wisconsin. He was born here, attended University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent many years living in Spring Green, Wis.
A piece of history in our own backyard that offers a unique look into the life and work of Wright.
Wright built an 800-acre estate called Taliesin in Iowa County.
Tour guide Dan Powers said he knows every nook and cranny of the iconic property, which includes buildings from nearly every decade of Wright’s career. Taliesin showcases the evolution and nuances of his work overtime.
“His residence, his offices, his studio and a fully functioning farm all in one building here,” said Powers, as he led a tour through the property. “When Frank Lloyd Wright decided to build Taliesin, it was because of that hill he so enjoyed as a young teenager in this area.”
Wright’s focus and fascination with land, water and nature is evident in his architecture. There are trees built into the home.
Powers described how Wright loved to contrast wide open spaces with confined areas. It was a way for him to induce different sensations whenever someone walked through the rooms.
“He brings the ceiling down on your head so you can almost feel the weight of the building on your head,” said Powers. “He wanted you to move quickly through that space and feel uncomfortable, then when you came out of it, the room opened up and you would get a positive physical sensation.”
Powers said Wright’s goal was always to inspire other artists and creators to be unique.
“He used to say the big money or country club money never builds a Wright home,” said Powers. “He said the artists and freaks build a Frank Lloyd Wright house, because it’s so different and so creative.”
Preserving the restored Taliesin estate takes a lot of work and money. It was built 112 years ago and has a storied past.
It survived financial strains, fires and a major crime. In 1914, a man who worked at Taliesin set fire to employee living quarters and murdered seven people.
Taliesin attracts more than 25,000 visitors from all around the world to Spring Green, Wis., every year. But Powers said he is always surprised that they don’t see more Wisconsinites tour the property.
“This gem is just not recognized locally enough,” said Powers.
Guided tours, school field trips and workshops at the property will be offered again starting in April. The property shuts down to visitors for the winter.
Correction: A previous version of this story used the incorrect last name for Dan Powers. This has been corrected. (Jan. 8, 2024)