Kenwood’s endangered Frank Lloyd Wright houses

To the Editor:

The Blossom and McArthur Houses in Kenwood are important early designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, and their interiors are world-class works of art. The seeds of everything Wright eventually accomplished, from the Robie House to the Guggenheim, are already germinating at the corner of 49th Street and Kenwood Avenue.

At 122 years of age, both houses are now in need of substantial repair, inside and out. Although the architectural features are still largely intact, extensive and expensive work is needed to bring them back to their original beauty. The two current families have lived in their houses since the mid-1950s and are now ready to move on, leaving the care and restoration of these important houses to new owners. Since the houses are in the Kenwood Landmark District, the City of Chicago will take responsibility that all future exterior work will be faithful to Wright’s original designs. But the interiors of the houses, which are by far their most important feature, enjoy no protection at all.

The presence of the Blossom and McArthur Houses significantly enhances the prestige of the neighborhood. The loss of the interiors, through neglect or thoughtless remodeling, would be a tragedy for American architectural history and a disgrace for Kenwood.

We are part of a group of neighbors working together to help find ways to preserve these important Frank Lloyd Wright houses. If you would like to have more information or offer your support, please visit us at: wright4kenwood.org.

Michael Aranoff
Mary Margaret Bell
David Ehrmann
Eleanor Hall
Hannah Hayes
Stan Izen
Kineret Jaffe
Suzanne Martin
Mindy Schwartz, MD
Jean Snyder
Hart Weichselbaum
Karen Wilson
Thomas Wynn