Arnold Jackson House – Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
“The architect should strive continually to simplify; the ensemble of the rooms should then be carefully considered that comfort and utility may go hand in hand with beauty.”
-Frank Lloyd Wright
In Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, you can experience a Frank Lloyd Wright home with all the creature comfort of a bed and breakfast. The Arnold Jackson House was originally built for Wright’s personal physician in Madison, Wisconsin and medical students lived there when the Jacksons passed on. At one point the home was going to be demolished until a young man purchased the home for one dollar. Every piece of stonework was moved to Beaver Dam.
This left the opportunity for Elizabeth and her late husband Al to become the current caretakers of the home in 1999. Al was a pharmacist his whole life, but pumped gas for Wright as he grew up in Wright’s hometown of Richland Center. They brought their passion for Wright and kept the landscape immaculate.
Interesting architectural features you can expect from this prefab home are massive amounts of windows, mahogany walls throughout, a large kitchen, and a trademark large fireplace. The large overhang is meant to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Wright’s notorious low ceilings are present in the home, but the soaring ceiling in the living room surprises most guests. Also, an original built in scale and heaters have been restored in one of the bathrooms.
The Arnold Jackson Bed and breakfast offers three bedrooms and the prices vary from $120 to $160. Each room features a private bath, cable TV, and wireless Internet. To check for reservations visit their website. Their establishment is forty minutes from Madison Airport. Expect fresh baked goods from Elizabeth and a cordial meet and greet service. If you’re still hungry after breakfast, Elizabeth recommends the Audubon Inn, Benvenutos Italian Grill, Dos Gringos Bar and Grill, among many others. The premises allow children and small dogs that are trained. For entertainment in Beaver Dam you can take in the well-attended Oshkosh Air Show, or a major Nancy’s Notions event in May. Call 920-356-9440 to make a reservation.
An upside to this home is it resides in the same state as Taliesin East Preservation. Their mission is to preserve the estate that Wright called home and “educate the public on the man, the architect, the architecture, and the ideas.”
His aunts Jane and Nell Lloyd-Jones would inspire him to make his 1911 designed Taliesin home into something more. Together his aunts ran a dynamic children’s school that was founded on the principle of learning by doing. It was called the Hillside Home School. By 1932 the first twenty-three apprentices formed the Taliesin Fellowship and those students transformed Wright’s home into a learning by doing institution. “Surrounded by bright, committed and energetic apprentices, Frank Lloyd Wright’s career as an architect found new vigor, and soon the students could learn as they worked on some of the most innovative buildings in America.”
In addition to the preservation there are numerous Wright homes in Wisconsin if you plan to make a grand trip of Frank Lloyd Wright’s native state. There is the Wingspread home at Wind Point, the Schwartz House at Two Rivers, the Seth Peterson Cottage at Mirror Lake, and the Annunciation Church in Wauwatosa. The church doesn’t have tours, but services are held at 9:30 on Sundays. Another site you can’t miss is Monona Terrace, a Madison community center that opened in 1997. Frank Lloyd Wright signed off on the final design weeks before his death in 1959 and the exterior was built to his exact specifications. The center receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
By Alex Thurnher for PeterGreenberg.com