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Wednesday, March 6, 2024


News tip from US Modernist’s George Smart HAIA: Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1953 designed (not completed) restaurant not far from Taliesin in Wisconsin and part of the Taliesin Visitor Center, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Who knew at one time there was fine dining available overlooking the Wisconsin River in a Wright designed restaurant? 

Wright never dined at what became Spring Green Restaurant because it wasn’t completed and opened to the public until 1967.

As we all know, one cannot dine on decor. Sadly, the restaurant is no longer serving food as it is a visitor’s center. As an aside, there is another Wright restaurant currently in operation in Bartlesville Oklahoma site of FLW’s only high rise. 

Here’s more data from on Spring Green Restaurant 5607 County Highway C, Town of Wyoming, Iowa County Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright/ Taliesin Associated Architects (William Wesley Peters) Construction Date: 1957-1959, 1967-1970 

Summary: In 1953, Frank Lloyd Wright purchased a parcel of land overlooking the Wisconsin River that was located within a mile of his celebrated home, Taliesin. On it, he intended to build a restaurant building that would be designed by him, would be owned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and would be operated by the Taliesin Fellowship, who would serve visitors to the area and to Wright’s home and school at Taliesin. 

Wright’s first concept for the building, which he called “Riverview Terrace,” was designed by him in 1953 and at first it was intended to be an informal, seasonal restaurant. 

By 1954, though, Wright’s first restaurant concept had evolved into one that would be open year-round. It was this second concept, which Wright continued to refine until construction finally began under his direction in 1957, that forms the core of the present-day building. 

The long, low, Spring Green Restaurant building that Wright planned to build had walls that were clad either in smooth stucco or in rock-faced coursed limestone, materials that were consciously chosen to be in harmony with the same materials that Wright had previously used on nearby Taliesin. 

Work on the new building continued sporadically until Wright’s death in 1959, after which it remained in an uncompleted state until 1966, when it was purchased by a new owner, the Wisconsin River Land Development Corp. 

The new owner’s plans included turning Wright’s unfinished restaurant building into an upscale restaurant. To do so required some major changes to Wright’s design and these changes were implemented by Taliesin Associated Architects (TAA), which had been created after Wright’s death by his former associates and which was then led by William Wesley Peters, who was the chief architect for the revised building. 

The building was opened to the public in 1967 as The Spring Green Restaurant, it was fully completed in 1970, and it continued to serve its original function until 1993, when it was purchased by Taliesin Preservation Commission, Inc. and was repurposed to serve as the visitor center for Taliesin. Despite this change in usage, the building is still highly intact today and it is still in excellent, highly original condition. 

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