The house as seen from Google Streetview (Image: Google, 2015)
No one realized that the house at 2106 East Newton St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was anything special, let alone a lost treasure. Up until now it’s been valued at $225,100. But that’s likely to change: it’s now been recognized as an original design by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright—the first found in 10 years, Curbed writes.
How could a Wright house fly under the radar? Part of the reason is that Wright kept his association with the house quiet—almost as if he didn’t want it to be known as a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Urban Milwaukee’s Michael Horne writes:
I thought it odd that the notorious egotist Wright would have undocumented buildings in the metropolitan area, but Johnson [the Wright enthusiast who identified the house] had an answer for that: He theorized that Wright, who had been involved in a number of personal and professional scandals, had good reason to keep his name quiet, but he still had to make money.
And, it looks like the builder tried to take advantage of Wright, too. Horne:
…the System-Built developer may indeed have constructed this home without Wright’s knowledge. Wright had complained of not receiving documentation and pay for much of his work. With his notoriety, it may have been difficult for him to assert his rights, or to make too much of a stink about it.
So here it is: a house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed to make a buck and then had to work hard to get paid for. It’s enough to make any freelancer feel good— even famous architects sometimes do work for purely financial reasons and then have to hound clients for payment.
Bonus find: 30 unknown poems by Katherine Mansfield.
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