Dana-Thomas House

2021, Illinois, Road Trip, States

Springfield is home to the Dana-Thomas House, a significant example of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. We were able to secure tour tickets online for this morning at 11 AM. In 1902 Springfield resident Susan Lawrence Dana commissioned Wright to remodel the 30 year old Italianate home just blocks from the state capitol that she had inherited from her wealthy father, a former mayor of the city. Her goal was not only to create a comfortable home for herself and two other family members but to establish a gathering place for the community. Local children came to Saturday morning storytime and left with a borrowed book and an ice cream cone. Suffragettes gathered to promote votes for women. Community leaders and philanthropists were frequent guests at her parties. Her coat room had three hundred hooks since the coat hanger was not yet available. The design of the house retained the foundation, one original wall, a fireplace, and the essence of Mr. Lawrence’s study, otherwise it’s a grand example of Wright’s prairie style. It’s open with lots of natural light and an easy sense of flow from one grand area to the next. Not only did we enjoy appreciating the design of Wright’s first blank-check commission, one of the best preserved of the houses he designed, but we also found the story of Susan Lawrence Dana fascinating. We just wish we’d been able to take photos of the interior.

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