The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park (The Kraus House) was designed by Wright in 1950 at the request of Russell Kraus and his wife Ruth. Located in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, the 1,900-square-foot house is sited in a grassy meadow beside a grove of persimmon trees. The house is an excellent example of Wright’s Usonian architecture, intended to provide middle-class Americans with beautiful design at moderate cost.
For his Usonian homes, Wright developed a “unit system” based on geometric shapes. The Kraus House is based on an equilateral parallelogram with a complex floor plan of intersecting parallelograms. Typical of Usonians, the house has an open living area, a central hearth, concrete slab floors with radiant heat, and a wall of glass doors that affords views of the landscape. The same materials are used both inside and out: brick, concrete, glass, and tidewater red cypress. The doors to the main terrace incorporate stained glass designed by Russell Kraus, a mosaic and stained glass artist.
The Krauses moved into their home in January 1956 and lived there together until Ruth’s death in 1992. In 2001 a non-profit organization, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park (FLWHEP), purchased the house and grounds from Russell and deeded the property to St. Louis County for the creation of a public park and house museum. Subsequently, the FLWHEP completed an extensive restoration of the brick, woodwork, furniture, and textiles in the home.
Today, the FLWHEP remains responsible for the preservation and operation of the house museum. The organization also serves as a focal point in the St. Louis region for educational programming on Wright’s legacy, as well as architecture and design in general. The St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department maintains the grounds, known as Ebsworth Park. Due to a generous donation from Barney Ebsworth, the park was named in memory of his parents, Alec W. and Bernice W. Ebsworth.