On July 1, 2013, I checked a major item off of my bucket list.
My son and I were in Ohio doing some work, and we finished earlier than expected. We were closer to my 96 year old grandfather in Pennsylvania than we were to home. As I had not seen him in 10 years, we headed to Allentown. The night before we left I recalled that Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Falling Water, was somewhere in Pennsylvania. Looking at the map it was not far from our route, so we decided on a quick detour.
The following morning the weather was terrible, rain and more rain. Really? I get to go to Falling Water and I won’t even be able to take any pictures. When we were about 30 minutes away, the rain gods heard my pleas; the rain stopped and the sun slowly came out.
Wanting to be an Architect since I was very young I was very familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright and Falling Water, but never thought my feet would ever touch the soil around it. The home, built for Edgar Kaufman Sr., is probably the Architects most famous work. It is listed among Smithsonian’s Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die.”
Construction began in April of 1936. The house and property was eventually donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963 by Edgar Kaufmann Jr. In 1964, it was opened to the public as a museum.
As we parked the car, I was still stunned that we were actually here. Luckily, the day was not too busy and we were able to get a spot on the tour and our wait would only be a little over an hour. With our tour ticket we had complete access to the property so we darted down the path to look at the house.
Now the sun was out, the humidity was up and I could hear the falling water in the distance. We turned a corner and there it was. I was surprised at how emotional this moment was. My son thought I was nuts. We walked around as much as we could around the exterior of the house until our tour was ready.
We started at the bridge with a brief lecture on the house and all the stuff I already knew and then proceeded inside. To say I was in awe is an understatement. The house was exactly as the Kaufmann’s had left it. There were original Van Gogh’s on the wall. The furniture Wright had designed, all still there. I was quite surprised how ugly and boring the kitchen was in contrast to the rest of the house.
After the tour, I was still mesmerized, never thought I would see this with my own eyes.