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Francis Little House II (Library Reconstruction)

Originally constructed on the shores of Minnesota’s scenic Lake Minnetonka, the extraordinarily large and complex Francis Little House II was among Wright’s richest expressions of the Prairie aesthetic and the last of his Midwestern Prairie houses.

Built

1912, demolished 1971

Client

Francis W. Little and his wife Mary

Address

The Allentown Art Museum

Status

On permanent view at the museum

Characteristically long and low, the house featured windows spanning the entire lakeside elevation. Although Wright drew elaborate designs for art glass windows, Francis Little did not want their intricate pattern to obscure his lake view. To compromise, the windows throughout the house maintained a clear central panel with an intricate border. When the house was slated for demolition due to the Littles’ failure to secure a suitable buyer or alternate use for the structure, the Metropolitan Museum of New York stepped in. The Met saved the critical parts of the structure and they were then divided amongst three separate institutions: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Allentown Art Museum.

Located to the left of the house’s offset entrance, the library originally functioned primarily as a reception area. Large art glass windows overlooked a terrace and lawn, while oak bookshelves lined the remaining walls. In the museum reconstruction concealed lighting and oak trim, similar to the decorative scheme used elsewhere in the house, were added to the ceiling. The furnishings, while consistent with Wright’s interior design, are not original.

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