select a newsletter
SPRING 2002 | WINTER 2002 | SPRING 2003 | WINTER 2003 | SPRING 2004 | WINTER 2004
SPRING 2005 | WINTER 2005 | SPRING 2006 | WINTER 2006
Purchase of the Kraus House an Eight-Year Process
In 1993 when Russell Kraus was ready to sell his Frank Lloyd Wright
house, he contacted Judith Bettendorf, a St. Louis artist and interior
designer, who had expressed a prior interest in buying the house.
After seeing the house, Judith realized it was too small for her
family, but she offered to help find a way to preserve it. She contacted
her friend Bob Hall, director of St. Louis County Parks and Recreation,
to see if the county could buy the house and turn the land into
a park. The county declined for financial reasons. (See article
FLWHEP Partners with St. Louis County Parks and Recreation).
In September, 1995, Judith and others created a 501c3 non-profit
organization to purchase and restore the house and develop the land
as a park. In 1997, Judith moved to Florida and board member Joanne
Kohn, a St. Louis arts leader active in the project from the beginning,
became chairman. The first major gift towards the purchase was a
$500,000 pledge by the Whitaker Foundation in 1999. Shortly afterward
Barney Ebsworth, a St. Louis businessman, pledged $1,000,000. The
Gateway Foundation subsequently pledged money for restoration costs.
The non-profit organization purchased the house and land from Mr.
Kraus for $1.7 million on January 18, 2001. Architect John Eifler
of Eifler and Associates in Chicago, who has worked on other Wright
restorations, was hired to develop a master plan and to consult
on the restoration of the house. Ted Wolff, a landscape architect
from Chicago, who has also worked on Wright projects, is developing
the site plan for the project.
A Note From the Chairman
This newsletter celebrates the accomplishments
of our primary mission: to purchase and restore the Kraus house.
It also signifies that we are now an organization of 670 plus members
dedicated as an organization to protect and preserve the house and
its 10.5 acres.
Our mission now expands to developing the land into a compatible
park which will include a visitors center providing support
services for the house, such as a shop, a place to view an information
video and to showcase the myriad of memorabilia saved by Mr. Kraus
which document the building of the house.
I want to thank the donors, friends, members, the board of directors,
and the department of parks and recreation of St. Louis County for
persevering throughout our eight year effort to buy the property.
Without your tireless efforts and support, we could not have succeeded.
Joanne Kohn, Chairman
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
Ebsworths Major Gift Helps Assure Purchase
Barney and Pam Ebsworths gift of $1 million toward the $1.7
million purchase price of the Kraus house helped assure its successful
acquisition. In recognition of this substantial gift, at the Ebsworths
request, the park was named in honor of Barneys parents, Alec
W. and Bernice W. Ebsworth.
Barneys affinity for the work of Wright and interest in helping
to preserve this Wright house parallel his interest in early 20th
Ebsworth, the creator of one of the most innovative travel companies,
INTRAV, is a highly respected international art collector. His art
collection has been shown at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Seattle
Art Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts,
Boston, as well as the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The Ebsworths generous gift not only honors his parents and
preserves an example of one of Americas greatest architects,
but it is also a significant contribution to the cultural life of
Thank you, Barney and Pam.
Whitaker Foundation Gift Paves the Way
A $500,000 gift in 1999 from the St. Louis Whitaker Foundation proved
to be the key catalyst for other major gifts to help purchase the
Kraus house and land. After visiting the house, foundation trustees
and staff recognized the architectural significance of the house
and its value to our region.
Fortunately, the Kraus house with its surrounding 10.5 acres reflected
the foundations mission of supporting cultural institutions
and parks. The grant was the foundations largest grant in
its Park Focus Area, and one of its three largest grants ever. While
the foundations involvement began in 1999, the gift followed
over two years of planning and fund raising.
The St. Louis community is grateful to the Whitaker Foundation for
paving the way in the Campaign to Preserve a Treasure,
the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park.
The Whitaker Foundation was begun in 1975 thanks to the generosity
of Mae M. Whitaker in memory of her husband, Lyndon C. Whitaker.
The current executive director is Christy Gray.
FLWHEP Partners with St. Louis County Parks and Recreation
The goal to purchase the Kraus house, its 10.5 acres, furniture
and memorabilia became a reality in part because the non-profit
organization, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park (FLWHEP),
formed a unique partnership with the St. Louis County Department
of Parks and Recreation.
FLWHEP raised over two million dollars to purchase and restore the
house and property and then donated both to the county. The county
leased back the house and property to the organization on a long
term lease with the FLWHEP free to manage the house and grounds,
develop a master plan, and solicit tax-deductible donations. The
countys responsibilities are to cut the grass, maintain the
trees and plow the snow. The county park rangers patrol and secure
Bob Hall, former county parks director and now vice-chairman
of FLWHEP, always encouraged public ownership of the house and property
and the purchase/donation/lease agreement which has provided the
stability the project needs. He believed, as did the board of directors,
that it was important that the public own the house and property
Genie Zakrzewski, who is the present parks director and serves on
the FLWHEP board, says: The Frank Lloyd Wright House is a
remarkable example of Wrights work in St. Louis County and
the State of Missouri. One of the elements of St. Louis County Parks
vision is to provide and ensure signature parks that
enhance residents lives. We believe the Frank Lloyd Wright
House in Ebsworth Park is a treasure that will sustain and offer
a piece of history because of its significance in American architecture.
Board Members with the Architects
(back row) architect John Eifler, Max Lippman,
Genie Zakrzewski, Jane Schoedinger.
(front row) Bob Hall, Agnes Garino, Isabel Brandt,
associate architect Sari Lehtinen.
Gateway Foundation Grants Restoration Funds
The St. Louis Gateway Foundation pledged $377,400 for restoration
of the Kraus house in 1999, two years prior to the purchase of the
house and property. Their early gift allowed restoration of the
house to begin in May, 2001 only four months after purchase of the
property. The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park is extremely
grateful to the Gateway Foundations trustees and staff, and
will report more fully about the restoration in the next newsletter.
Our Appreciation to Lead Contributors
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park and its members thank
all the foundations, corporations and individuals who had faith
that the Kraus house and property should and could be saved and
preserved for the St. Louis community.
Following the lead of the Whitaker Foundation, the other early contributors
were The Edward Chase Garvey Memorial Foundation, The William T.
Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, Trustee), The Norman J. Stupp
Foundation (Commerce Bank, Trustee), The Trio Foundation, The Dula
Foundation, The Gertrude and William A. Bernoudy Foundation, The
Spencer T. and Ann Olin Foundation, The A.P. and J.B. Green Foundation,
and the Emerson Charitable Trust.
Individuals who were early major donors who helped enable purchase
were Barney & Pamela Ebsworth, David Mesker, Connie & Jordan
Heiman, Bill Maritz, Roger & Liz Peterson, Mrs. Bettie S. Johnson,
Jack & Terry Moore, and Mrs. Walter Brissenden.
Open House, June 2001
Enjoying the outdoors at the Frank Lloyd Wright House.
Cub Scouts enjoy their docent-led tour.