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Frank Lloyd Wright At Spring Green High School

Posted by
halfback (Rolla, United States) on 21 June 2010 in Architecture.

Bernard Pyron Photographer

One day in the summer of 1957 when my first cousin A.C. Donaho was living with us on Middleton Beach Road In Middleton, northwest of Madison, we went to Spring Green and to the high school where Frank Lloyd Wright was sitting on the stage behind William T. Evjue, the editor of the Capital Times, who was giving a long winded political speech, probably on Wisconsin Progressivism. Until Evjue finished talking, Wright was sitting asleep behind him.

Later that day I took a photo of Wright in the basement of the school drawing on one of his perspective drawings in an exhibition there. I took a second photo of Wright coming out the door. This is the photo shown here.

Frank Lloyd Wright called his more affordable and compact houses "Usonians."

I do not think the mysticism of two of his women or his Unitarianism contributed to his Usonians, but his Wisconsin populist-progressivism did. In a Google search I did not find much on Wright's Wisconsin progressivism. But Wright had two friends in Wisconsin, Robert LaFollette and William T. Evjue who were both populist-progressives. His friends generally held views which at least in large part agreed with his.

Evjue consistently promoted Wright's Monona Terrace Project in the Capital Times. But factions in Wisconsin politics opposed Wright and especially the Monona Terrace Project, which was to be a civic center on Lake Monona in downtown Madison.

The Monona Terrace Wars ended in about 1995. Mayor Paul Soglin had an important part to play in getting the project built. But so did the Evjue Foundation. Wright's old friend helped get the project built through his Foundation. The largest private contribution to the Monona Terrace project was a $3 million challenge grant
from the William T. Evjue Foundation, named for the late publisher of
The Capital Times, the city's afternoon newspaper, a longtime Wright
champion in the Monona Terrace wars