Let’s talk ARCHITECTURE with a little history lesson mixed in!!
Do you know about Frank Lloyd Wright?? An American architect, writer, interior designer, and educator who designed over 1,000 structures during 70 of his 91 years of life. He designed homes, offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels & museums as well as interior items, including furniture and stained glass through the state of Illinois.
Springfield is lucky to be the home of one of his famous designs, the Dana-Thomas House
Let’s learn a little bit about the Dana-Thomas House itself.
It’s one of the most unique and lavish structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright during his early Prairie period. Perhaps the most complete of all early Wright dwellings, it was never significantly altered and has over 100 pieces of original Wright-designed oak furniture, 250 examples of art glass light fixtures and lamps. The barrel-vaulted dining room and gallery/ballroom are two of the most photographed spaces in the history of American architecture. Connecting the main living quarters to the gallery and library is a 60 ft. long pergola hallway beneath which is a bowling lane, billiard room and walk-in vault. Currently closed due to COVID-19…but they are anxiously waiting to take you on tour once the “Stay at Home” order is lifted.
Wondering where the name Dana-Thomas House came from?
Well let’s start off with the “Dana”
This was a Springfield socialite named Susan Dana. She commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902 to remodel her deceased father’s home. She gave the home its life by using it as a showcase for the visual & performing arts, an entertainment venue and of course a home. She was known for her hospitality, unforgettable parties and concerts as well as community, social and political involvement.
Learn more about Susan here.
What about the “Thomas” part you ask??
Well that is from Charles Thomas, who along with his wife Nanette, purchased the Dana House from the sale of Mrs. Dana’s holdings in 1944. They used the house as the executive office for the Charles C. Thomas Publishing Company until the house was sold to the State of Illinois for $1 million in 1981.
Back in December of 2008, Governor Blagojevich closed the house to the public due to budget cuts throughout the State. However on April 23, 2009, after about 15 months long months of Springfield visitors not being able to enjoy this beautiful site, Governor Quinn stood in the entrance saying “the doors are open!” Following that statement there was a celebration with fun family actives and tours of the house.
Springfield was happy to have that site open for all our visitors to enjoy once again!!
Frank Lloyd Wright Trail
Since Frank Lloyd Wright peppered Illinois with sterling examples of architecture built in his signature Prairie style, Enjoy Illinois teamed up with Frank Lloyd Wright sites across Illinois, including the Dana-Thomas House, and created the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail. There are 13 sites total that came together for this self-guided architectural adventure. (All sites are currently closed due to COVID-19)
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