24 June 2007

On the Road in Springfield: Two Houses

We are in Springfield, Illinois, for a few days, on sort of a condensed family vacation. In recent years, we have taken coastal vacations, so this summer we decided we'd stay in the Midwest and check out some historical sites in the Springfield area. Before we came here, I also found out that old Route 66 runs right through Springfield, and the idea of this excites me immensely. Probably much more than it really should.

Today, we visited two houses which could not have been more different: the Dana-Thomas house and Lincoln's home.

Below is the Dana-Thomas house, a fabulous example of the early work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Once upon a time, DH and I lived in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago which boasts a very high number of Wright's buildings. Living there, we had the opportunity to learn about his work and tour his studio. This home is larger and more elaborate than other structures we have visited. It also boasts more original furniture than any of his other buildings.

Wright's work is characterized by straight, horizontal lines, geometric shapes, and stylized designs from nature. These are all design elements that I prefer, so it's not a wonder that I'm such a fan of his work. It amazes me how fresh his designs look today. The only question is: When can I move in?

We also visited the home where Lincoln lived for 17 years with his wife and children. It was in this home that he received word he had been chosen as the Republican party's nominee for president.

In terms of design and decor, this home is the complete opposite of the Wright structure: ornately carved woodwork, patterned wallpaper and floor coverings, and heavily draped windows. I felt just a little bit better seeing wallpaper that was actually even less attractive than the wallpaper in our bathroom.

Tomorrow, we plan to see a couple of sites related to Route 66, notably Shea's Gas Station Museum (drove past this today and it actually looks like a junkyard--It's going to be SO FUN!!) and the Cozy Dog, home of the hot dog on a stick. The Lincoln Presidential Library is also on our plan for the day.

Stay tuned!


Sharon said...

Great pics. I like the Dana-Thomas one. It is different from the other Wright homes that I have seen.

Jill said...

So neat! I got to try & break into a synagogue designed by FLW last winter. The security guards were too...I want to say "mean" but I guess they were just doing their job...

I didn't get to see the part I really wanted to, but at least I got to peek in all the windows...

Maureen said...

Cool.. love the photos. While in Springfield, did you get to see the Simpson's house too?