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Recognition for Purchase and Restoration
Kirkwood Landmarks Commission award
Doris Danna (left) and Joanne Kohn
receiving the award.
Efforts of the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park (FLWHEP)
to save and restore the Kraus House have received widespread recognition.
The City of Kirkwood Landmarks Commission presented the FLWHEP the
Best Residential Conservation for 2002 award, as a
has been restored to its former glory, maintained and improved through
landscaping and cosmetic treatment, thereby reinforcing its historic
The award was accepted by Chairman Joanne Kohn during a ceremony
held at the Kirkwood Train Station during Preservation Week May
Several board members and contractor Jeff Markway attended the
presentation. Doris Danna, 2002 chairman of the Landmarks Commission,
is a member of the advisory board of the FLWHEP.
St. Louis Landmarks Commission award
FLWHEP vice-chairman Bob
Joanne Kohn and board member Roger Peterson
St. Louis Landmarks Commission award.
In June, the St. Louis Landmarks
Commission acknowledged Joanne for
spearheading the project to
purchase and restore the house,
awarding her the Presidents Award.
AAA Midwest Traveler has recognized the Frank Lloyd Wright House in
Ebsworth Park as an official Midwest Treasure. Presented in November,
award recognizes special places and events in the magazines circulation
National Philantrophy Day each Nov. 15th honors outstanding members
of the fund-raising community. Joanne received the 2002 Outstanding
Fund Raising Volunteer award. The awards commemorate and
pay tribute to the spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism in the St. Louis
community, our nation and our world.
A Note From the Chairman
issue of Wright Focus is devoted to the restoration of the Kraus House.
I want to pay tribute to John Eifler of Eifler & Associates of Chicago,
restoration architect; Jeff Markway of Norbert Markway Construction
Co. St. Louis,
and all the craftsmen who contributed to the superb quality
of the restoration
and thank them for their dedication and continued participation.
Also, thanks to
Gene Mackey, board member and a principal of Mackey-Mitchell
architectural firm and Gyo Obata, principal of Hellmuth, Obata
& Kassabaum Inc.,
architects who functioned as an advisory team, Peter
Shank board member
and artist, and Doris Danna, architect and preservationist.
Without funding from the Gateway Foundation, we could not have begun
restoration immediately after the purchase. We are all indebted to the
trustees of the foundation and their executive directors, Perry Bascom, and
now Christy Fox, for their foresight and generosity.
I want to highlight
and thank two board members who were involved early
in the project: Peter
Shank for his vision and dedication and Kay Kinsella for
her research and
enthusiasm. I am also indebted to the volunteers who
without a budget for
staff have assumed roles critical to running the organization.
of the Frank Lloyd House in Ebsworth Park are crucial to the
of the house and the completion of the restoration. Membership
is our strongest
ongoing financial resource. We need you and are grateful
for your continued
support. Please call to see the restored house and mention
that you are a
Thank you and have a happy holiday season!
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
Kraus house journey began in the spring of 1974, while seeking images
a book I co-authored, Places for People. My father, Isadore Shank
early modernist archi-tect) told me that a Frank Lloyd Wright
on Ballas Road. I contacted the owner, Russell Kraus, for
permission to photograph
the house for my book; a book that was designed
to educate young people about
When Russell Kraus made it clear he intended to sell the
house in 1993,
Judi Bettendorf and I came together to brainstorm how the
house might be
purchased and turned into a public museum. With my background
architecture and landscaping, this project was a natural for me.
With the example set by the Frank Lloyd Wright house, it has been my vision
and hope to witness a better appreciation and preservation of modern
architecture in St. Louis. Seeing demolition ranging from Louis Sullivans
Hotel to the Coral Court Motel, as well as some of my fathers
buildings, I have
become even more committed to saving additional examples
of the regions
In addition to my roles
as an advocate of modern architec-ture, founding member
of the board the
Frank Lloyd Wright house in Ebsworth Park, and publications
the organization, I have been searching for new acquisitions for the
I first saw
the Frank Lloyd Wright house when its owner, Russell Kraus,
invited us to
Once inside I was back in geometry class beguiled by the ex-perience
being surrounded by extraordinary inventiveness. Artful detail was everywhere.
The floor plan followed two crossing par-allelograms. The wooden tables
were centered with a triangle surrounded by parallelograms. The upholstery
was designated by the architect.
This house, though small in square footage,
was immense in power.
Living in it would not suit everyone, but all who saw
it would be struck by its
completeness, its perfection. We felt the quiet
fullness of awe in the
presence of art. How could everyone enjoy it? The
word bulldozer was
mentioned and the dream began. I volunteered to do research.
My first call for ideas and advice was to Philip Johnson, Wrights adversarial
in New York. He led us to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
there and FLW experts sent us detailed optional ways to acquire the
favorable to owner and dreamers.
Further calls were made
and letters sent to the FLW Building Conservancy in Chicago,
(Wrights winter home and institute) in Arizona, to interested museum curators
and official FLW house appraisers as well as approved furniture and textile
We contacted all the Wright houses open to the public for ideas
and took a trip to Spring Green
in Wisconsin, Wrights boyhood home,
to hear the opera Shining Brow composed about his life.
Schmidt, a lawyer and then curator of Fallingwater near Pittsburgh, said he would
on the next plane. He mirrored the enthusiasm of everyone with whom we
spoke. Letters were
usually answered by return mail in the same encouraging
We began to feel part of a national surge for pres-ervation and
convinced ourselves wed be
success-ful. All because Russell Kraus,
who became our mentor and generous friend, had
invited us to tea.
The Search for an Architect with the Wright Credentials
extensive search, John Eifler, Eifler and Associates of Chicago, was selected
by the Board of the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park to develop
a master plan
for restoration of the Usonian style Kraus house.
Eifler met the key criteria: an architect with experience in Frank Lloyd Wright
who could develop the plan for both the restoration of the house
and the development
of the grounds.
The search included consultation
with the Dana-Thomas House, a 1904 Wright-designed
Prairie style house in
Springfield, Illinois, that has been restored by the state of Illinois.
chief architect of the state shared his knowledge and experience about Wright
and recommended soliciting the interest of three Chicago firms
with extensive Wright
experience. Eifler was one of three architects from
two firms interviewed.
His credentials include restoration of the Seth
Peterson Cottage in Wisconsin and two Usonian
houses, the Rosenbaum (1939)
in Florence, Alabama, and the Jacobs (1936) in Madison,
by many to be the first Usonian house, as well as Wrights living quarters
at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Eiflers plan included
documents describing and assessing the existing conditions at the time
purchase (2001) and recommendations for restoration. With Chicago landscape architect
Ted Wolff, who also has experience with Wright properties, Eifler is completing
a master plan
addressing site development that will provide for better access
to the property and the
placement of a visitor and education center.
He also designed a masonry plan that was used to guide the repair of 40%
of the brick which
was extensively water-damaged. With his associate, Sari
Lehtinen, Eifler selected the mortar
color and designed a cover for a drain
in the carport.
Eifler coordinated the restoration work with St. Louis
contractor Jeff Markway. According to
Markway, Eifler brought a high level
of authenticity to the work, and the project profited
greatly from his knowledge
of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Masonry contractor Dave Bergmann on the terrace.
What Had to be Done?
When purchased by the FLWHEP non-profit
organization, the Ruth and Russell Kraus
house was fundamentally intact and
true to Wright but greatly in need of restoration.
The restoration was overseen
by architect John Eifler.
The condition of the brick exposed to the elements
was deplorable. Water had
seeped into 40% of the brick, which led to its
total deterioration. For example, the
lanai and terrace brick had to be replaced
completely. Where overhangs protected
the brick, it was intact. Following
Eiflers detailed plan, intended to prevent future
the brick, the damaged brick both outside and inside was repaired.
inside wall was warped and cracked from the weight of the roof leaning on it.
It was torn down, reinforced with steel according to McGinnis & Associates
firm. Old brick was used for inside of the wall and new brick
John Eifler found new brick that is an excellent match
from a foundry in Sioux City, Iowa.
Cracked glass and the murky glass in the
terrace and lanai doors were replaced with
clear glass that would deflect
ultraviolet rays. Unfortunately, the doors on the terrace had
to be replaced
due to rotted wood; the original hardware was saved when possible. The
glass on the light table used by Mr. Kraus was also replaced.
tidewater red cypress, the predominant wood inside and outside, was skillfully
restored by the painters, Koch Brothers Decorating, Inc. selected for their
excellence. The wood outside had a curdling layer of varnish
that was removed by
sanding and power washing before the wood was painted
with a preservative. Carpenter
bee holes had to be repaired and are an ongoing
problem. Inside stains from water and
fireplace smoke had to be treated.
All wood surfaces were painstakingly restored.
of the house also had to be addressed. The original electrical lamps
terrace walls were beyond repair. The fixtures and chrome covers, originally designed
for use indoors, were dangling. All the wiring was replaced on the terrace
and new anodized
aluminum fixtures, made for outdoor use, were installed.
Electric power for the house was
increased from 100 amps to 400 amps, fuses
were replaced by circuit breakers which were
placed in the tool house. In
mid-summer 2002, the original over 35-year-old air conditioner
While the furniture and fabrics were generally in good condition, they showed
signs of wear
and tear and had to be restored.
workmen, Keith and
Kevin Hagemann, rebuilding
Jeff Markway is Restoration Contractor
Jeff Markway of Norbert Markway Construction Co. was se-lected as contractor
Kraus house restoration process. His firm is known for its remodeling
of fine St. Louis homes.
In 1999, he helped estimate restoration costs
which aided in formalizing the grant to the
Gateway Foundation. The foundation
pledged $377,400 for the restoration.
While much of the house restoration
has been completed, there is still work to be done.
Markway continues to
be involved, dealing with, and finding solutions to problems in the house.
The restoration work brought numerous surprises, as Markway explains, such as
finding that the
retaining wall off the carport was too short and cracked.
He also found that there was no
drainage around the carport wall, thus causing
it to buckle with the force of wet earth pushing
in on it. The entire wall
had to be torn down and rebuilt with four feet of drainage surrounding
Markways selection of skilled craftsmen with extremely high
standards accounts for the level
of excellence attributed to the restoration.
One of the key craftsman was masonry contractor
Dave Bergmann. A third generation
mason, Bergmann feels that working on the Kraus house has
been the highlight
of his career. He enjoyed his collaboration with Markway and Eifler in executing
the masonry repair plan that was conceived by Eifler.
theme of the restoration was replicating the original. However, Eifler, Markway
Bergmann chose to help stabilize the brick walls and prevent the recurrence
brick by making the joints flush on all the new row locks
(the top row of bricks on each wall), instead
of indenting or raking them
as Wright had intended. The raked joints are still seen on the brick that
was protected by the overhangs, such as the terrace wall off the studio under
the cantilevered roof.
Bill Stack, Koch Brothers Decorating Co., along
with Eifler and Markway determined the methods
and materials to restore the
tidewater red cypress wood both outside and inside.
of Jeff Markway in hiring and supervising superior craftsmen, coordinating with
in Chicago and our St. Louis area board of directors, was greatly
Phillips, mason, shaping the brick.
Spalling the popping
off of face of the brick.
Caused by water getting behind brick.
Lock the top row of brick on a brick wall.
corrugated copper placed under brick - particularly under the row lock.
to help prevent water seeping through brick stack.
plastic webbing placed between retaining wall and brick that water
to exit stack of brick.
Weep Hole space left open at bottom
of brick for water to exit.
Raked Joint mortar indented or raked
out by a tool or rake to emphasize the horizontal line.
Interior living room wall being
removed and replaced
Refinish or Restore
John Eifler, project
architect, stressed the need to retain the original,
whether the structure,
furniture or fabrics. To be true to the tenets
of good restoration, the board
consulted not only Eifler, but also Cara
McCarty, the curator of Decorative
Arts at the St. Louis Art Museum,
who recommended John Barfield, a free-lance
who does important restoration work for the museum.
Barfield brought the most honored methods of working in furniture
The Wright-designed furnishings were not refinished,
a process that would
have removed the finish. Instead Barfield, and
the Koch Brothers painters,
painstakingly removed stains that
appeared to be permanent by using chemicals,
instead of sanding.
General signs of wear and scratches left by Mr. Kraus
Angel were left on the furniture after the cleaning process,
not to remove layers of wood.
In the kitchen the joints
in the wood of the maple kitchen counters
were cleaned and tightened with
clamps to eliminate open spaces.
Zoe Perkins, curator for textiles at the
St. Louis Art Museum, was
engaged to evaluate and preserve all the original
fabrics on the
furniture, the bed covers and drapes. All the fabric was vacuumed.
She also water-tested fabric scraps for shrinkage or disintegration.
The master bed spread was successfully washed and blocked to size
in a major difference in its appearance.
The drapes were removed, vacuumed,
shortened and the deteriorated
lining replaced by John Thake of Zollinger
Furniture Company, who
also repaired the drapery tracks.
guaranteed museum quality and workmanship.
Masons repair wall outside toolhouse.
The toolhouse will soon be restored.
Zoe Perkins, textile curator, working on
fabrics in the master bedroom.
floor surfaces inside and out, including the cement
carport surface where
treatment options are being investigated.
Touching up wood surfaces
that have not been restored or where
carpenter bees have done damage.
Restoring the tool house in the carport. It will be cleaned and painted
and wood surfaces eaten by squirrels repaired; a heater, air conditioner,
sink and counters installed, and the old existing water heater placed in
the basement area. Work will be done to make the tool house usable.
Finishing brick work.
following the dictates of the original Wright design.
Cleaning up recessed
Purchasing rugs for the hallway and utility room.
Building a circular road.
Making a gate designed by FLW.
Building a visitor center to house a gift shop, a video
educational and display facilities.
John Barfield, conservator, and Bryan Sater,
painter, restoring the
Docent Pat Soraghans Kirkwood High
Modern U.S. History class.
Tourists Flock to FLWHEP
purchase of the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park (FLWHEP)
18, 2001, nearly 6,500 people have toured the house.
Over 4,500 Frank
Lloyd Wright enthusiasts, architects, students, FLWHEP members
and just interested
individuals and groups have been a part of over 200 tours
in the six months
since the house has been officially open to the public. (A limited
of free tours were provided, particularly for members, during restoration.)
Twenty-one docents have provided tours to individuals and a variety of groups
including school, garden club, church, retirement home, realtor, and other
organizations, including the St. Louis Art Museum Decorative Arts Society
Information Desk Volunteers.
While most of those touring the
house are from the St. Louis metropolitan area,
people have come from nearly
30 states, as far as California and New York, as
well as foreign countries,
including Germany, Holland, and Poland.
The house is open for tours by
RESERVATION only. Admission is $5 per person;
members are free. (At $75 membership
level and above members may bring
For the winter, tours
are limited to 10 persons. During winter months parking will
be limited to
the driveway as the grounds may be too wet. Tours will be canceled
of snow or ice. Reservations may be made by calling 822-8359 (8FLW),
name, phone number, number of people and any special requests.
be returned as soon as possible.
We can provide these tours because of
our dedicated group of volunteer docents.
Thank you to docents:
Ann & Hank Bauer, Isabel Brandt,
Sharon Croissant, Betsy and Peter Enslin,
Agnes Garino, Karen Halla, Laurie
Hellman, Mary Huelsmann, Joanne Kohn,
Dennis Kohler, Brian Mills, Carolyn
Noll, Diane Peterson, Sally Pinckard,
Janet Schoedinger, Barbara Scott, Pat
Soraghan, Liz Studt, Brian Welch.
Special thank you
to our volunteers:
Isabel Brandt and Sharon Croissant, for
organizing the docent training,
with the assistance of Joanne Kohn, Mary
Huelsmann and Esley Hamilton;
Liz Studt, for tak-ing phone messages and scheduling
tours and docents;
Carolyn Noll, for her assistance in scheduling tours;
Betsy Enslin, for
scheduling member tours in September, Janet Schoedinger,
for serving as
Brian Mills, for organizing our booth at the Kirkwood
Greentree Festival in
September and the Greentree booth volunteers: Michael
Benefield, Jack Carpenter, Peter and Betsy Enslin, Phyllis
Evans, Joan Esserman,
Ruth and Bob Hall, Bill Heyde, Barbara Schmeding, Mary
and Karen Mills, Tibor and Jan Nagy, Carolyn Noll, Barbara
Scott, Liz Studt,
and Robert and Karen Walsh for giving their time to promote
Webster Groves Garden Club, led by Diane Neely, for assistance
on the property.
St. Louis County Parks Kent Theiling
and his crew, for
planting the patio/courtyard garden.
Docent Brian Mills manning the FLWHEP booth at the Kirkwood Greentree Festival