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.




Spring Green – Creativity Shining Through

9-27-10 / 3-9-14 / 6-29-14

Spring Green sign

This was our first visit to Spring Green in 4 years.  An interesting fact, famous mural painter Richard Haas was born here.  Not all of Spring Green’s attractions are downtown,  several are outside of the main city.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence is especially prevalent here, much more than his hometown of Richland Center.   We have seen his work all over Wisconsin, but the most seem to be in this area. Taliesin is a major attraction in the summer months. we also stopped at the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center,   not open until May also.  If you wish to take a tour of Taliesin, you begin here. Frank Lloyd Wright was such an influence in Spring Green, there is a marker describing just that.

Frank Lloyd Wright marker

Taliesin signTaliesin main building

FLW Visitor Center

In the 1800s, this site has an interesting history.  The Wisconsin River can be seen over the sign.

Military River Crossing marker

Wisconsin River

More of Wright’s work, the only school designed by him, now the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Art’s Center.  Open in summer and fall.

Wyoming Valley Cultural Arts Center

A hotel was also designed by one of his apprentices, J.C. Caraway, The Usonian Inn.

Usonian Inn Motel FLW

The Theatrical Arts are also well represented in the area. American Players Theatre is performed on an outdoor stage, a very popular venue.

American Players Theater

The White Church Theatre Project is a new addition to the theater scene, offering education in the theatrical arts.

The White Church Theatre Project

As you might expect,  many interesting and historic buildings are in Spring Green, many of them designed by Taliesin associates.  The Round Barn Lodge and Restaurant and Hayloft Cafe catch the eye as you drive by on US 14. It was a 1914 Dairy Barn originally. Designed by Jim Pfefferkorn, 1973 and 1979.

Round Barn Lodge and LodgeHayloft Cafe

Rite-Way Plaza was a former Philip’s station. Built of Limestone, designed by James Charles Mantooth, 1995.

Riteway Plaza

These buildings are located on the Northside of town.   We especially like this one. The business here is The Opal Man- Gallery of Opals.  This unique building was a Johnson Oil gas station in 1926. This is the ONLY ALL- Opal jewelry gallery in North America.

The Opal Man

On 242 N. Lexington is “The White School”, built 1877.  This picture was from our 2014 visit.

The White Schoolhouse 1877

Now we head to the downtown area for many more. This is a view looking west on Jefferson St, their “Main Street”.

Downtown Spring Green

The first stop is the Chamber of Commerce, which used to be a bank drive-up! It was designed by William Wesley Peters in 1975. You can pick up area information here, just go in.

Spring Green Chamber of Commerce

Going a bit further down the street, also on the right, we see a medical building created to attract a physician to Spring Green in 1961.

Medical Building

Medical Building plaque

Then we get to Nina’s which has been in Spring Green since 1916.  The building’s facade is what it looked like in the 1920’s.  The history is quite interesting, still in the family after 4 generations.

Nina's in Spring Green

The Shed is part of the Post Block that was established in 1894.

The Shed restaurant in Spring Green

This building was particularly impressive, it once was the Spring Green State Bank.  Now, it’s Freddy Valentine’s Public House restaurant.

Freddy Valentine's in Spring Green

It was close to 11:00, so we headed back to the other end on the street and turned right on Albany St. These colorful buildings of the Albany Street Shops brightened up the dark day we had.

Albany Street Shops

Across the street was our final destination of the day, the Spring Green General Store. We first discovered this store on our first visit here in 2010, they serve a great lunch in their cafe and we looked forward to another lunch here.

Spring Green General Store

The interior of the store is bright and cheerful, here is the front of the cafe.

Spring Green General Store cafe

We ordered our food, owner Karin Miller came over to our table and greeted us. What a nice lady!  She shared with us the many events that take place in Spring Green in the summer. It is a busy place! Then our food arrived, yum! Here is the Frito Pie we enjoyed on our first visit too.  We returned June 29 for their Arts and Crafts Fair and enjoyed lunch again. Al had a Hummus Sandwich and I had an Italian sub, delicious!

Spring Green General Store lunch


Frito Pie


Hummus and Italian subs Spring Green

As we concluded our visit, we planned on coming back soon.  The next chance will be the Spring Green Arts and Crafts Fair the weekend of June 28 and 29, 2014.

We did make it back for the fair and had a great time! So many items that we wanted to get, but couldn’t at this time.  At least we got contact information from the artists.

Spring Green Banner


SApring Green Arts and Crafts Fair

For a really great view of the Infinity Room at House on the Rock overlooking the Wyoming Valley, go to this Scenic Overlook. The address is 5945-5998 WI. Hwy 23 just outside of Spring Green. You exit off the highway in either direction and park in the lot. Then you walk a short trail to the overlook. What a great view.  I was able to even see the people inside of the Infinity Room!

Infinity Room at House on the Rock

Inside Infinity Room at House on the Rock


Us at scenic overlook

Spring Green has so much going on, we plan on returning often.

Richland Center- Purple Heart Memorial City


We got going shortly before sunrise to maximize the daylight available. Richland Center is in the “Driftless Area” of Wisconsin, untouched by the glacier.  As a result, the town is nestled in a valley with large beautiful hills surrounding it.  There was more fall color by then, and it was our last adventure of the year in the 70’s.  Richland Center earned the distinctive name “Purple Heart Memorial City” in 2002 and has a yearly ceremony honoring those soldiers.  It was also the birthplace of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Our first stop was the restored depot and Chamber of Commerce to learn where to find everything.  Sherry Klatt and Bev Laue were ready to assist and provided us with all the info we needed on the town and county. They tell us Richland Center would welcome more new businesses in the area. Thanks so much!

Richland Center Depot

10-10 170

We also took a look at the caboose behind the depot.

Richland Center caboose

After that we explored downtown, the most distinctive building  was designed by native Frank Lloyd Wright . It was the A.D. German Warehouse.  It has been vacant for many years. It has just been bought recently and is being renovated.

A.D. German Warehouse in Richland Center

The beautiful courthouse downtown.

Richland Center courthouse

If you need some remodeling done, Owners Travis and Andrea Wertz can help you, Wertz Floor and Home is at the Edward’s Block building . www.wertzfloorandhome.com 

Edwards Block Building

Former First National Band building, now a BMO.

10-10 318

For a good book and wine, stop by Ocooch Books and Libations.

Ocooch Books & Libations

The Brewer Library is another great place to check out a book. There you can also visit the History Room to learn more about Richland Center and county.

Brewer Library in Richland Center

It was time for lunch!  We went to a great place on 212 North Main St. called Gables. Gables closed 6-25-14.  Good news, it is re-opening under new ownership March 16, 2016 with a new menu.

Gables Restaurant in Richland Center

After lunch it was time for a hike on nearby Miner Hill, which overlooks the city.

Miner Hill

To get there, go to the east end of Court St, park on the side of the road in front of the trail, Not this circle at the end of the street, but the roadside on the right looking down the hill.Miner Hill parking

The view of the city below was breathtaking! Center-left is the courthouse.

Downtown Richland Center from Miner Hill

You could also see the warehouse roof from here. The noise I heard from below was someone doing work on the roof!

A.G. German Warehouse roof

Close up view.

working on roof of Miner Hill

It was time to come down from the hill and view the Purple Heart Memorial before going home.  The sight of all the flags and the beautiful monument is a fine tribute to soldiers of all the branches of military.

10-10 733

10-10 711

Richland Center is the Wright place to come for many activities for folks of all ages.

Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison

9-17-10  1:00 PM

Monona Terrace from water

The Monona Terrace was completed in 1997 after MANY years of the city debating whether to build it or not. It was originally proposed in 1938. They finally did, but at the expense of the mural that is at street level going under the building.  The building is based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design.   The tour began at 1:00, and I was the only person that day. It began at the gift shop. In 2015 it is $5 for a tour.


We went down to the large room where the indoor winter farmers market is held, along with other large events. Here is the room on a different day with an event going on. Its huge!


My guide showed me the Ballroom, appearing even larger due to it being currently empty.

Tour 9

The large windows are part of a room often used for wedding receptions. This one is on the lower level.


Tour 3

The upper level houses a similar room, but larger.

I also saw the auditorium where the radio show, “Whad’ Ya Know?” is broadcast LIVE on Saturdays.

Tour 2

We ended the tour on top of the huge patio overlooking Lake Monona. You can have lunch at the Grandview Cafe, open during the warmer months.

Tour 18

I had a very enjoyable tour of both the Capitol and the Monona Terrace that day.

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