Four of the six American System-Built homes that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in the 2700 block of W. Burnham Street in Milwaukee are now owned by Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin, following the purchase of the single-family house on the corner, at 1835 S. Layton Ave. The purchase was finalized September 27.
The organization had previously purchased the other single-family house at 2714 W. Burnham St. (2004) and the duplexes at 2724-26 W. Burnham (2005) and 2732-34 W. Burnham (2007).
The Model B1 (2714 W. Burnham) has been completely restored with the help of a Save America’s Treasures grant. There is a fund drive to raise matching funds for a second Save America’s Treasures grant to restore 2732-34.
“The organization now has control of the destiny of that house with the purchase. While restoration work will not be immediate, at least it gives us an example of each type of American System-Built home located on Burnham Street,” said Robert Hartmann, the organization’s president. “The hope is that we could have one of each of the three at some point in the future all restored to museum house status.”
The purchase was coordinated by Mike Lilek, who has taken the lead on the organization’s Burnham Street property purchases and restoration projects since 2004. A website about the homes can be found at www.wrightinmilwaukee.org.
He writes that 1835 is one of just four examples of American System-Built Homes Model C3. “This simple rectangular cottage is a low-ground hugging structure that has a hipped tile roof and broad overhanging eaves. The focal point of the exterior is the entrance tucked into the cutaway corner, which is emphasized by a broad, stone chimney pylon and an open terrace boarded by a low masonry planter. The horizontal design emphasis of the structure is further expressed through the use of broad bands of casement windows. Originally the exterior was finished in stucco with board trim, but in 1956 it was resided with precast coral stone. The glazed tile is a replacement for the original asphalt roofing. The originally open side porch has been glazed for year round use.”