Cedar Rock by Frank Lloyd Wright

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HS was recently in the midwest producing a web commercial for Silgan Containers. Silgan is the leading manufacturer of aluminum cans in North America with 29 plants scattered across the country. We shot in Wisconsin and Iowa over the course of a week. This post is not about the Silgan shoot but rather, an inspiring moment that happened on our travel day, driving from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin to Fort Dodge, Iowa. A moody sky over gorgeous rolling cornfields at such a perfect time of year was a feast for the eyes. Superman meets Field of Dreams.

At around the midpoint of the 400 mile journey, I saw a sign for Cedar Rock, the historic Walter House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Could it be? In the middle of nowhere? I was going to experience something like this? Yes.

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From the tiny visitor center it’s a one mile walk along a cleared path through the neighboring cornfield. The house is situated on a bend in the Wapsipinicon River, a site where several Indian trails converged hundreds of years ago as a crossing. The cornfield quickly transitions to a lush deciduous forest. After a time walking under thick coverage the house begins to appear in a clearing, perched overlooking the river. One of the most idyllic river bends I’ve seen. There it was. A preserved Frank Lloyd Wright. What a treat.

Cedar Rock by FLW

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The house was commissioned by Lowell Walter, a successful business man from Iowa in the late 1940’s. Cedar Rock was to be his summer home. Touring this house today reinforces how far ahead of the times FLW really was. When I asked the docent if Mr. Walter was happy with the end result, he just smiled. He said “It’s funny you ask that, Mr. Walter was not expecting what he got. There is correspondence that documents the back and forth between client and architect. It seems that Frank Lloyd Wright took an opportunity to do what he wanted to do!”

 

 

The interiors are perfectly preserved with all of Mr. Walter's original furniture intact.
The interiors are perfectly preserved with all of Mr. Walter’s original furniture intact.
FLW designed everything in the house, down to all the built-it compartments in the kitchen.
FLW designed everything in the house, down to all the built-it compartments in the kitchen.
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The boathouse at Cedar Rock by Frank Lloyd Wright is thought to be the only boathouse he ever designed.
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Looking down river, boathouse at Cedar Rock by Frank Lloyd Wright
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Super rare, an actual signature in a tile by the architect himself.

All photos were taken with the Canon 5dM3.

Cedar Rock