Westcott House

One of the fascinating parts of architectural history is just how many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses have fallen into ruin or disrepair, and that some of his largest projects have been completely torn down. (The Larkin building will get its own entry at some point, once I get over to Buffalo to photograph the sad remaining single relic of its existence.)

Westcott House was one of these. In 2005, the restoration of this house was completed and the house opened to the public. My husband and I visited not long after it opened, being stunned to find out there was a Wright prairie-style house just 45 minutes from Columbus. It is, in fact, the only one of its kind in Ohio. Springfield, it turns out, was once a booming industry town.

What had happened to the house since it was completed in 1908 is sadly not unique amongst Wright houses: The fortunes of the family that built it declined, and it had to be sold. By the late 40s it had been subdivided into apartments, its identity as a Wright house (and a close contemporary of the masterful Martin House, itself a ruin for a time) obscured. A supporting beam on a lower level that was “in the way” was also removed. It was replaced during the restoration, but one can still see the signs on the second floor of the resulting sag that was introduced.

Amazingly, the house was acquired for restoration in 2000 and opened to the public in 2005. My husband and I visited almost exactly four years ago. As a result, I always associate the house with Christmas.