We visited Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and workshop outside of Spring Green, WI today. The tour took us through his residence and some of the grounds of what is now a large estate which includes an active farm, architectural school, and visitors center. The house is typical FLW, but unfortunately it is in disrepair. The foundation that maintains it is struggling to raise money for maintenance and restoration. FLW, his family and students used Taliesin about 6 months a year. Before winter set in, they all moved to Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ for the remaining 6 months of the year.
Taliesin has an interesting history. It was originally built for his mistress (Meme Chaney), but that didn’t work out. About a year or so after they moved in, it seems the butler killed his mistress, her 2 children and several workers (7 in all) with an axe and then set the house on fire. No one seems to know exactly why the butler did it as he had only worked for FLW for a couple of months. I know he was a tough guy to work for (he was short and had small man’s syndrome), but I can’t imagine he pissed off the guy in a month enough to axe murder 7 people and not FLW himself. A book has been written about the events and we bought a 4 CD audio version to listen to as we travel.
Frank’s wife granted him a divorce after the fire and Frank went on to rebuild the house. He apparently had another mistress that he ran around the Middle East with and then dumped her shortly after they returned to Taliesin. He found Russian woman that he eventually married and stayed with. I think she was about 30 years younger than he was. The house burned down again in the 50’s and he rebuilt it again by the time he died in 1959. His wife lived in it until she died in the 80’s.