Hello again! As you may have seen from my social media or in my blogs about Chicago and Michigan, I’m in the States for multiple reasons, one of which is a Midwest book tour. However, in the middle of the book tour, personal reasons led me to Pennsylvania to visit family. On the way back from visiting my aunt and uncle, we stopped to see Fallingwater in southwest Pennsylvania. This piece of property – the house included – was love at first sight.
Fallingwater belonged to the Kaufmanns, a family who owned the high-end department store in nearby Pittsburgh. The Kaufmanns owned a piece of land that was used as a summer camp for department store employees. They often retreated to the pristine mountains, but employee visits were less and less frequent during The Great Depression. Finances – and time – ran paper-thin. The Kaufmann family continued to retreat to this area, though, as it provided them an oasis from busy city life.
Originally, the family had a small cabin, but the building did not have running water or heat. As the area developed, the Kaufmanns decided to commission Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous American architect, to design a more modern vacation home. Taking the surroundings into consideration, Wright weaved the house directly into the nature; he perched the property over the majestic nearby waterfall, using innovative design to keep the house and its inhabitants as connected to the environment as possible. While only certain angles provide a view of the falls, Wright knew the Kaufmanns and their guests would always hear the water, maintaining that relationship.
The house was built between 1936 and 1939, and the family used it until 1963. Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., then entrusted the house to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the house is now open to the public. You are not allowed to take pictures inside. The main house is 5,330 square feet (495 square meters). The terraces and the interior of the main house are almost equal in square footage! The guesthouse is 1,700 square feet (158 square meters). The house cost $155,000 (145,096 euros), which included an $8,000 (7,490 euros) architect fee and $4,500 (4,214 euros) for installed walnut furnishings. This was way over the Kaufmann’s original budget, but they were willing to pay more to achieve the vision they and Wright had.
If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit! Be sure to reserve your tour in advance. Visit the Fallingwater website for more information. Note: the area is not accessible by public transportation, so you have to arrive by car or a tour group.
Naturally, we were traveling by car and decided to stay the night just outside of Pittsburgh. First thing the next morning, we walked around downtown Pittsburgh. This city is home to the steel industry, which is reflected in the architecture. With the three rivers intersecting, the bridges, and surroundings, the area is quite nice. Our visit was short, but fun!
In case you missed it, my book tour took me to Chicago, West Michigan, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. Where I am headed next? That’ll be revealed soon! Where are you headed next? Please let me know in the comments below!