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2006 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

Restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Westcott House

Preservation Merit Award to all who contributed to the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House, including the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy; Westcott House Foundation; The Turner Foundation; Chambers, Murphy & Burge Restoration Architects; Schooley Caldwell Associates; Structural Engineer and Architectural Historian Elwin Robison; Landscape Architect Carol Yetken of CYLA Design Associates, Oak Park, IL; Durable Slate Company; and the many skilled artisans and craftspeople and generous donors who made the project possible Ohio’s only Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie house was completed in 1908 for Springfield industrialist Burton Westcott, his wife Orpha, and their family. It was divided into apartments decades ago by a subsequent owner, whose descendants struggled with maintaining it until selling it to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in 2000. A study by engineer and architectural historian Elwin Robison found that the house was in desperate need of structural stabilization, which became a first priority. Through the cooperation of local citizens and the Conservancy, the Westcott House Foundation came into being in 2001 to oversee the restoration. Working with Chambers, Murphy and Burge Restoration Architects and Schooley Caldwell Associates, they sought to preserve as much of the historic fabric of the Westcott House as possible while preparing it to become a museum. Drawings published in Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio, historic photographs, newspaper articles, and existing building fabric were all used to determine the original appearance. Complementing the meticulous preservation of existing fabric was the re-creation of missing elements. Under direction of Durable Slate Company, dozens of carefully-selected local artisans worked according to the meticulous dictates of the Historic Structure Report, reestablishing the site boundary and landscape; reconstructing the reflecting pool and terrace; and reproducing custom furniture; casework; art glass; metal work; and even a birdhouse. Wright's signature urns were restored, the pergola was reconstructed, and the gardens were replanted based on original drawings, using a combination of surviving plants and historic and heirloom plantings, under the direction of landscape architect Carol Yetken of Oak Park, IL. Restoration of the Westcott House has expanded the body of research into the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and deepened local awareness of Springfield’s architectural heritage. The house has had over 10,000 visitors since it opened last October, becoming an economic generator for the whole region through heritage tourism. The Westcott House Foundation is capitalizing upon its success by expanding its mission to include programming promoting "design process thinking and innovation" in addition to programs on architecture and local history for adults and children. The result is exciting--a visit to the Westcott House is an experience that instills appreciation of Wright's innovative use of space and natural materials; of the Westcotts as community leaders; and of Springfield at this pivotal time in its history. All of this would not have been possible without the generosity of many donors, notably The Turner Foundation.

Past Recipients:

For a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients click here.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office is Ohio's official historic preservation agency. A part of the Ohio Historical Society, it identifies historic places in Ohio, nominates properties to the National Register of Historic Places, reviews federally-assisted projects for effects on Ohio's historic, architectural, and archaeological resources, consults on the conservation of older buildings and sites, and offers educational programs and publications.

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