Tag Archive | Frank Lloyd Wright

Wingspread Tour – Former Home of S.C. Johnson-Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Wingspread House in Racine


Over the last several years we have taken an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and have actively sought out locations of the many buildings scattered throughout Wisconsin. We have found his work in many of the Wisconsin cities we have visited, including Madison where we live and it’s suburbs. Wingspread is the former home of S.C. Johnson and it was completed in 1939.  It’s now open for free tours. Book yours in advance, no walk-in’s permitted. Planning well in advance of your visit is important as these tours fill up fast! We scheduled ours about 5 weeks before our visit.

Wingspread Tour – Call 262-681-3353. or choose your time here online.

Our tour began at 3:30, first an introduction by our guide Tracy. We then watched a 20-minute movie about Wingspread, many funny stories and anecdotes by the grown children who lived there.  Here is a map of the grounds you can look at just outside of the entry gate. And we were given a copy of the house floor plan.   This is a self-guided tour, and photography both inside and out is permitted.

Wingspread Map of GroundsWingspread Plans

Here is an overview of Wingspread, given by our guide Tracy.

We really enjoyed the tour and recommend it to any fans of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Racine – Wisconsin Harbor Town

April 18 and 19, 2015

 Also known as America’s Kringle Capital, Racine is one of the many beautiful Wisconsin Harbor Towns on the shore of Lake Michigan. We didn’t waste any time acquiring one of the delicious Danish pastry. We entered Racine on the west side and made our way to Bendtsen’s Bakery, providing Kringles to Racine for four generations, since 1934. We enjoyed the Turtle Kringle. They ship too!

Bendtsen's Bakery in Racine

Turtle Kringle from Bendtsen's Bakery

Racine also has a statue unique to the state, if not the country. On the grounds of Gateway Technical College is a statue of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd. It depicts them before he became President. Mary Todd had been in Racine in June 1867 to see Racine College, which had been recommended for her son Tad.

Gateway College in Racine

Lincoln Statue in Racine

Lincoln Statue Inscriptions

Lincoln and Mary Todd Statue inscription 2

Racine Light Stations

A very important service protecting ships and boats on Lake Michigan for over 100 years. The one below is managed by the Coast Guard.

Racine Harbor Light Station

Racine Lighthouses

 The Racine Reef Lighthouse is also equipped with a warning horn, protecting boaters from a limestone reef in the area. Here is what is sounds like.

Finding this Light (directions provided by terrypepper.com)
From I-94, take Hwy 20 east. Hwy 20 eventually becomes Washington Ave. Follow Washington Ave. to Hwy 32, and head north on Hwy 32. Turn right on Christopher Columbus Causeway, and follow around the marina until the road ends in a parking area. Walk the short distance to the lighthouse at the marina entrance.”

There is also an info board telling more about the light station.

Racine Reef Lighthouse Info

Wind Point has a marker and a museum open during the summer.


Historic Downtown Racine

Racine’s history has been well-preserved for all to enjoy. The Racine Heritage Museum is a great place to learn more.

Racine County Historical Museum

 In Monument Square you will find many markers telling of Racine’s early history. Also a Civil War monument in the center.

Monument Square

Racine marker in Monument Square in RacineJerome Case Marker in RacineJoshua Glover marker in RacineEagle Mascot marker in Racine

The Racine Art Museum

Racine Art Museum

 Post Office

Racine Post Office

 It’s noon!  St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is ringing it’s bells. The whole downtown was chiming in fact.


We ate a meal at three restaurants and got a snack  at another place during our visit. Lunch on Saturday was at Kewpie Lunch, open since the 1920’s.  Yes, the theme is Kewpie Dolls.  They have great food too!

Kewpie Hamburgers collageKewpie hours

 Got a snack at the Sugar Shack Sweet Shoppe in Monument Square.

Sugar Shack Sweet Shoppe in Racine

We had dinner at Apple Holler, with a country theme. Lots of fun with many activities for kids and adults alike. Wonderful food there too.

Apple Holler in Racine

 On Sunday morning, we enjoyed brunch at Reefpoint Brew House, quite a nice menu there and a view of the Marina from the large windows.

Reefpoint Brew House in Racine

 Frank Lloyd Wright in Racine

He had a large presence in Racine, including company buildings.  There is one house designed by him, the Hardy House. It’s located in the Southside Historic District.

Southside Historic District and Parks in Racine

Hardy House FLW in Racine

Also Wingspread, which we took a free tour of!  You have to book this tour in advance. S.C. Johnson and his family lived here originally.  Due to high demand, we scheduled our tour about a month before our trip.  You can also book a tour of SC Johnson Research Tower as well, they are just five miles apart. The tower looks beautiful at night! Book your tour(s) here.

Wingspread House in Racine

SC Johnson Research Tower in Racine

 Also on the site is the beautiful Golden Rondelle Theatre and Fortaleza Hall, where a Sikorsky S-38 amphibious aircraft is displayed.

Rondelle Theatre and Fortaleza Hall in Racine


Quarry Lake Park

We had been to Racine before, but it was all the way back in 1998, before we were married. We were very active scuba divers back then and we took a dive in the quarry here. We got a sketch of what you can find underwater in the quarry, facing north.

Racine Quarry facing North with symbol

Racine Quarry diagram

Pritchard Park

At this park is a Vets memorial and a historical marker as well.

Vets Memorial in Racine

The Spark marker in Racine

Washington Park

Across from Mound Cemetery (where we also visited), George Washington and other soldiers are honored. A cannon is also at the park.

Cannon in Washington Park in Racine

At Mound Cemetery, we saw a marker commemorating  Revolutionary War soldiers buried there.

Revolutionary War Solder marker at Mound Cemetery in Racine

Racine Harbor Park

Over by the lake and Marina, this park has a walking path along the lake, plus an elevated platform where you can see both the Breakwater light station, the other one across from it, and the Racine Reef  lighthouse as well. You can eat at the Reefpoint Brew House too out by the Marina.

Viewing Platform at Racine Harbor Park

Other Markers

Near the Racine Zoo is another marker (2131 N. Main), describing the cream-colored brick that many of the buildings are built from.

Cream Brick marker in Racine

At Windpoint we visited a Bohemian Schoolhouse, a large part of Al’s heritage.

Bohemian Schoolhouse in WindpointBohemian Schoolhouse marker in Windpoint

There is so much to see and do in Racine, well worth a visit.  One day is not enough, so we spent the night at Knight’s Inn. It was economical to stay there and quiet.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Racine!

Johnson Creek – Crossroads With a Future

Johnson Creek bannerJohnson Creek logo


12-22-14 and 9-12-16

previous visits

The Village of Johnson Creek was founded in June 1903. The first two settlers were Charles Goodhue and Timothy Johnson. Johnson also founded nearby Watertown a little to the north.  The Chamber of Commerce is located on 417 Union St in the old downtown. To learn about the village’s past, the Johnson Creek Historical Society can provide information and publications. They are located on 110 Aztalan St. There are currently 2,738 residents living here.  Most people in the Madison area know Johnson Creek by their large shopping center,  The Johnson Creek Premium Outlets, built in 1998. It’s right off the exit on I-94, you can’t miss it! The stores are individual storefronts, not a mall so you just park where you want to shop.  A great place to go for bargains!


Johnson Creek Premium Outlets and Pine ConeDown below the mall is the Pine Cone Travel Plaza – Restaurant and Bakery. We ate lunch at this location for the first time. The other Pine Cone is in DeForest close to home. You can’t believe how big their bakery items are. The cream puffs are as big as plates!  Also popular theme cookies, doughnuts and other pastries.

Pinecone Collage


Across Hwy. 26 is Hi-Way Harry’s, a restaurant designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé James Dresser.

Hi-Way Harry's in Johnson Creek

After lunch at the Pine Cone we continued to head toward the south side of Johnson Creek, the historic part of town.  On the way, we find the Jefferson County Dog Park. It’s huge, with separate enclosed run areas for different-sized dogs.

 Jefferson County Dog Park Collage

Johnson Creek also has a historical marker at Rest Area 14, I-94 Westbound. Also a tribute to the prairies that used to cover Wisconsin long ago.

Johnson Creek markerWW II marker

Wisconsin Prairies sign in Johnson Creek

Wisconsin Prairie garden at Johnson Creek

There is also a tribute to the military at Veteran’s Park downtown.

Veterans Park in Johnson Creek

Veterans Memorial at Johnson Creek

Also a monument dedicated to WWII Vets.

Roll of Honor Monument WW II in Johnson Creek

 Also at the park is a monument dedicated to early businesses that provided a foundation to the fledgling village in its early history. The historical society was the main sponsor of the monument. It also has a time capsule, to be opened in 2054.

Historical Johnson Creek Monument


Another historic building is the former Gobbler Restaurant and hotel, long closed.  Laurie ate there once but she don’t remember it.  Good news though, the building has been bought and is going to become a music venue in 2016.  We are so glad this landmark building is coming back to life again after being vacant 20 years. Enjoy the former Gobbler restaurant commercial.

The Gobbler in Johnson Creek

We returned on 9-12-16 to see the new Gobbler, now called The Gobbler Theater.

Gobbler Theater sign in Johnson Creek


Art in one of the windows, paying homage to the Gobbler Turkey.


 Just south of here is the original downtown of Johnson Creek, when the railroad was center stage instead of Hwy. 94. The track is still in use but the train does not stop here any longer and is freight only.  This is the railroad bridge in the heart of downtown.

Johnson Creek railroad bridge

 Many of the historic original buildings are still here to see and occupied. This is the Bases Loaded Corner Bar, an 1893 building.

Bases Loaded Corner Bar in Johnson Creek

Tappers Sports Bar

Tappers in Johnson Creek

 In the Community Center is Karate America, a great organization to teach karate and self confidence to both adults and kids.

Karate America and Community Center in Johnson Creek

Across the street from here is a row of historic buildings on Union St., looking north. The right-side is the Park Hotel building, built in 1895.

Downtown Johnson Creek Union + Eden St


To the left of the park hotel building is Vintage American Collectibles. It used to be a bank building.

Vintage American Collectibles in Johnson Creek

A close-up of the building on the far left.

Brownstone Building in Johnson Creek

At the end of the row across from Veterans Park is Tammy’s Pet Gooming and Supplies, in business since 1980.

Tammys Pet Grooming and Supplies

Johnson Creek does have it’s own library as well.

Johnson Creek Public Library

Next to the library is a historic home made of the cream-colored brick characteristic of this area, built in 1893.

Cream Brick house in Johnson Creek

 The rain begins as we finish our tour of Johnson Creek. We enjoyed exploring both the old and the new of this crossroads community with a great future ahead!

Johnson Creek Water Tower


Chazen Museum of Art in Madison


Chazen Art  Museum in Madison

The Chazen Museum of Art is a great place to visit for fans of all kinds of art and no admission is charged. Photography is permitted for free also, flash use is prohibited and camera hand-held only. With advance notice, you can bring in a tripod and other equipment, or an easel of you want to paint your own painting!

Artist painting at the Chazen

This museum is also part of the University of Wisconsin campus. It originally was called the Elvehjem Art Center when it opened in 1970 and in 1978 changed to the Elvehjem Museum of Art. The adjoining new building was completed in 2011. Docents sometimes give tours to both small and large groups.

We have been here before for a music performance in 2013.  A weekly event that was called “Live From the Chazen”, is no longer being performed.  Today we were here to see the many art displays and we were impressed by the variety. Even the lobby (Paige Court) was beautiful, this is a view from the 2nd floor balcony.

Chazen Museum lobby in Madison

Paige Court at Chazen

 We begin our tour in the Elvehjem building. Here are a few select pieces.

The Fall of Novgorod, painted in 1891

The Fall of Novgorod 1891 at Chazen

 Our Good Earth, 1942

Our Good Earth 1942 at Chazen


No art museum in Wisconsin would be complete without a few pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright, inspiration for Madison’s own Monona Terrace Convention Center.

Monona Terrace from water

This is his work, The Tree of Life, 1904

Frank Lloyd Wright Tree of Life at Chazen

Even the catwalk joining the two buildings has art. This is

Optic Twist Screen #2, 1977

Chazen catwalk

On the other side..

Bird, 1958

Bird, 1960 at Chazen

Cameo, 1973

Cameo, 1973


Black Jack, 2006

Black Jack 2006 at Chazen


This is just a small sample of the many beautiful works of art here. You can browse the collections here on their website if you can’t see them in person. A great place to visit if you come to Madison.