Shortly before 4:00 PM (CST) yesterday, the tear-down began. There were still at least twenty or more trees left unsold, which would be hauled back to Wisconsin and run through a shredder. The Christmas Tree Lot, a tradition at this spot for many years, will most likely not be back, as Mr. James N. Pritzker (of real estate development/restoration fame) now owns the property…and there are plans for a four-story parking structure to be built on this and the property just north, which is now owned and occupied by the Shambhala organization of Rogers Park. Apparently, their fine building will be torn down within the year!
Frank Lloyd Wright Home. Saved!
By APizm | Posted December 21, 2012
When the sun rises tomorrow we will know two things. One, the Mayans were wrong. Two, the David and Gladys Wright home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is SAVED. I am proud to announce that an anonymous buyer has purchased the house and has plans to preserve it.
I have been inside the house a few times now and believe me, it takes a few times to notice all the tiny design details that Frank Lloyd Wright put into this house. I included a few images of those tiny details for you.
Here is the write up from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy website, SaveWright.org:
“Christmas came a little early this year. Culminating six months of intensive work and many ups and downs, we can finally announce that this unique and important Wright house is safe! The Conservancy has facilitated the purchase of the David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix through an LLC owned by an anonymous benefactor. The transaction closed on December 20 for an undisclosed price. The property will be transferred to an Arizona not-for-profit organization responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the David Wright House.”
(CNN PRODUCER NOTE APizm is a photography instructor for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West in Phoenix, Arizona, and has been following the story for a while. He first reported on it in early October, when the David and Gladys Wright house was facing demolition.)
I would love to know who the ‘anonymous’ purchaser is…could it be James N. Pritzker, the owner of the Emil Bach House just a block and a half north of my building here in Rogers Park? Frank Lloyd Wright built the Bach House in 1915, and much to everyone’s surprise, it is undergoing a very heavy rehab, begun about two months ago.
As you see, many of the windows have been removed. When I spoke in 2007 with Mr. Pritzker’s secretary, who was occupying the house at the time, I was told that they hoped to re-do the windows, as they had obtained Mr. Wright’s original drawings for the Wrightian-style stained glass. I hate to assume anything but, it does look as if the stained glass windows will be in place soon enough, as will other ‘original’ amenities and some new as well!
Kudos to Mr. Pritzker, who also owns the building at the left (The Cats Cradle Bed and Breakfast) and the tall building behind (The Farcroft, a 12+ story former apartment building which has been undergoing a total gut rehab for over a year now).
…how about this? The building is the Farcroft, just a bit less than two blocks north, which has been undergoing a gut rehab for the past 11 months or so.
It’s twelve stories, plus the tower room at the front. Every window is new, and the lighter, bricked-in spaces used to be the entry doors to a fire escape, which I believe will now be on the west (left) side of the structure. Look closely at the scaffolding on the left; as a matter of fact, I’ll provide a closer look:
Yes, that’s a workman, who spent approximately five days building this scaffold…by himself! Here’s a shot of him taking a break (yes, he is tethered) and looking out to the west, which must be a great view…he can probably see past Skokie all the way to Des Plaines, and most likely all the way south past the Loop and Downtown Chicago.
Back when I first began working as a Scenic and Lighting Designer, I had to train myself to overcome my fear of heights. It took several months, but I could finally climb and work in a 35 foot high lift, hanging, cabling and focusing lighting instruments…but 100 feet is a bit TOO high, especially when all one has is a plank to stand on and open air to step over!
I took a walk over early that evening, just to capture some images from the ground, and found he had built the scaffold twice as wide along the front of Farcroft as well.
The Farcroft and many other properties in the Rogers Park neighborhood are owned by James N. Pritzker, a member of the family which owns the Hyatt Hotels. He believes in restoration, and certainly the crews he has hired are hard-working and doing a marvelous job here. I snuck under the ground floor scaffold and took some shots of the lobby and front office area, which I shall present another time…and it’s too early to get a definite finish date, so I’ll keep checking, and hopefully arrange permission to get some interior shots as well.
I’d love to capture the view from that lovely tower room, which I prefer to call ‘Rapunzel’s Place’!
At around 9:30, I heard a tremendous noise…and grabbed the camera, of course. As I peeked through drawn blinds, this is what I saw, only a block and half away…
…delivering heavy equipment (A/C and such) to the Farcroft, a 12 story apartment building, owned by James N. Pritzker. The gut rehab has been going on for most of this year…and they are a long way from the finish!
The helo made four quick trips and the noise ceased, unlike the other day, when I photo’d another helo, thinking it was the Chicago Police Department assisting in a lake rescue. When I uploaded the shot, it became apparent that someone was just shooting video or pix, as this helo hovered for about 20 minutes.
…yielded so much beauty it will take two posts. I began at the Emil Bach House, designed in 1915 by Frank Lloyd Wright, and now owned by James N. Pritzker, founder of the Pritzker Military Museum here in Chicago. The annual tulip display is phenomenal, but they are coming to their end.
Last of the Bach House Tulips Copyright 2012 http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com
Just next door, heading north, is another Wright-era house, also owned by Mr. Pritzker. There is a grand tulip display, but these lovelies also abide here:
Bleeding Hearts and Dew Copyright 2012 http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com
The morning fog left everything kind of dewy, including these Hosta in the parkway:
Dewy Hosta Copyright 2012 http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com
As I crossed Rogers at Ashland Avenue, I noticed these purple iris getting ready to burst:
Purple Iris Buds Copyright 2012 http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com
Thinking I was finished shooting, I crossed Rogers Avenue…and something bright caught my eye. I almost could not believe…a poppy!…in full bloom…on the first of May!
First Poppy Copyright 2012 http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com
…that my dearest Greek great-uncle, Pelopidous Constantinopoulous, had this photo taken…and there was a huge hanger-crease in his white flannel pants. I’ve known this photo since I was about three years old…more than 6 (yes, SIX!) decades ago.
So…two years ago, when I began scanning family photos, I decided I, and Photoshop (TM), could make things right, correct, because I’ve been using it since 2005.
I rebuilt, through ‘Clone’, the entire right side of the photo, and…of course…totally eliminated the hanger-crease! Fun to do, as I am most respectful of my Greek heritage.
Oh, BTW, Uncle “Poley”, as we called him, was among the original founders of Annunciation Greek Orthodox church in Milwaukee WI…you know, the church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright built shortly after his death.
I walked by this church, as it was being built, and every day thereafter when I walked or was driven to high school. It was only 8 blocks from our house, and I remember when it was still ‘wild land’, where I could walk up and watch the planes from the nearby Timmerman Airport take off and land. It inspired me to study architecture, then design, then Stage Design…and aided me to become the artist I remain…at least for the interim. Thank you, Mr. Wright, for your beautiful architecture and great memories.
P.S. I live now just down the road from Wright’s 1915 design, the Emil Bach house, now owned by Mr. James N. Pritzker of Chicago.