Almost Asheville!

Filed under: History

Look at these houses.  They could be one of many houses in the Historic Montford District of Asheville, North Carolina, couldn’t they?.  Well, they could be but they aren’t!  These are homes built by Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park, Illinois.  James and I went to Chicago this past weekend to visit our daughters and took a trip out to Oak Park to see the Wright Home and Studio  and to view (from the outside) a number of other houses he built there.

 We knew from researching our house, the Carolina Bed & Breakfast, that in his early years, Wright was heavily influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement of
which our house is an example.  It was interesting to see the gabled roofs and steep pitch lines which are so familiar to the Asheville streets transplanted to a remarkably similar neighborhood outside of Chicago.
The two homes in the first picture are wood and shingle but Wright also worked in stucco and pebbledash. As a matter of fact, if you look at this picture of our house between these top and bottom pictures of Wright homes, you can almost see the transition to the early Prairie home below.

As I walked through the Oak Park Neighborhood I found myself reflecting on how each country in which we have lived opened new areas of education for us:  in France it was food (of course!), England was gardens, Asia was new cultures and here, back in the USA, we are learning much about architecture!

While Asheville doesn’t have Frank Lloyd Wright, we were part of the architectural movement towards nature and simplicity in the United States of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Of course everyone goes to the Biltmore–and it is definitely worth seeing–but I would also encourage a visitor to Asheville to take one of the trolley tours here and/or walk around the neighborhoods just outside the city center.  If you choose to come this April 16-17, the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association will be opening its inns to the public.  Many of these inns are of historic interest and architectural landmarks varying from Victorian through Queen Anne style up to the Arts & Crafts era.  Details can be found by clicking here.


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