please select a newsletter
SPRING 2002 | WINTER 2002 | SPRING 2003 | WINTER 2003 | SPRING 2004 | WINTER 2004
SPRING 2005 | WINTER 2005 | SPRING 2006 | WINTER 2006

Whitaker Foundation Announces Challenge Grant

The Whitaker Foundation has announced a $50,000 challenge grant to the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park. The grant will be awarded after the organization raises $200,000 to improve the road and provide parking space for visitors.

In order to prepare for a campaign to raise the matching funds for this ambitious project, Tom Oslund, a noted landscape architect based in Minneapolis, has been selected to develop a detailed plan suggesting an accessible road and parking areas at the Ebsworth Park site.

The road and parking conditions, as well as the size of the house, have determined the way FLWHEP serves the public. Tours are limited to 10 people and the number of cars to as many as can fit on the gravel parking area. Sometimes there is a massive moving of cars if someone gets blocked in and needs to leave early. Tours are scheduled two hours apart to make sure everyone leaves before the next group arrives, preventing cars from meeting head-on on the one-way gravel road. The house was closed for six weeks this winter because the road is not even safe for walking when there is ice.

Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park entrance roadentrance road, 2004FLWHEP
entrance road, 2004

The Whitaker grant provides the opportunity to examine the proper way to deal with the dilemma of maintaining a residential feeling at a public property. Input from the membership and help in completing the project will be greatly appreciated.

The Whitaker Foundation gave The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park its first significant grant in 2001 to save the Kraus House. Through that first gift, the Whitaker Foundation, and its executive director Christie Gray, recognized the value of the project and gave it credibility with the funding community. They are once again offering FLWHEP a gift that will enrich the St. Louis community and make the House and property more accessible to the public.

Designer Selected to Guide Project
Tom Oslund, Principal and Design Director of Oslund and Associates, Minneapolis, has been selected to guide the design process of the road and parking facilities based on his extensive experience developing site plans for major developments including corporate, college and private estates.

Oslund, a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, is recipient of numerous design awards including the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture from the American Academy in Rome 1991-92. He has taught, written and lectured extensively on landscape architecture.

Some of his site planning and design major projects include the expansion of the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Zoological Garden Master Plan, and the Corporate Master Plan for General Mills in Minneapolis.

Tom Oslund, Gene Mackey, Bob Hall
(left to right) FLWHEP vice-chairman Bob Hall, FLWHEP board member and architect Gene Mackey and landscape architect Tom Oslund looking over the property.

Joanne Kohn

A Note from the Chairman

I want to welcome Laura Meyer, a new board member, and thank outgoing board members Roger Peterson and Mark Miller for their years of service. Roger and Mark contributed greatly to the purchase and restoration of the Kraus House.

Volunteers continue to do a great job as witnessed by Ellen Post who led our group to Bartlesville; our docent
coordinators, Carolyn Noll and Sue Geile; and our effective group of docents who through their efforts make the house available to the public and adapt to the problems of the road and parking on a continuous basis.

Heavy rain washes out the road to the Kraus House. With the challenge grant from the Whitaker Foundation, we have an opportunity to build a new permanent road that will be safer and create parking space for visitors. Tom Oslund, landscape architect from Minneapolis, has visited the site twice, and we look forward to his sensitive approach to the house and land.

The annual FLW birthday party will kick off the Legacy Fund created in honor of Ruth and Russell Kraus. For the first time, we have corporate backing for this party thanks to board member Sarah Bakewell and Bakewell Realty and John Wuest and Heartland Bank. I also want to thank Sally Pinckard and John Whitney, who are serving as liaison chairmen, and their wonderful committee.

I am grateful to Anabeth and John Weil and Jane and Warren Shapleigh for allowing the FLWHEP to display their collections of Rookwood pottery from June 13 through September 30. This exhibit will complement the exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum of University City Pottery which is being shown this year as part of the national Arts & Crafts conference at the museum June 17-20. The conference "Meet Me at the Fair: Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Arts and Crafts Movement on Display" will include a lecture on Rookwood pottery; 150 of the attendees will tour the Kraus House. The conference is open to the public.

We appreciate all the support we have received from the membership. Come to the benefit, see the Rookwood pottery exhibit, follow the progress of the road project and have a great summer!

Joanne Kohn, Chairman
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park

Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell

My appreciation for the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright stems from several life experiences. I grew up in a real estate family; so houses were always a big part of my life. Bill Bernoudy, a well-known St. Louis based architect, was a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright and a good friend of my parents. As a young woman, I enjoyed visiting his house and learning how design and nature work together. Bill was the first person who described formal garden areas as "outdoor rooms".

Later in life, when I took over running the family real estate business, my interest and knowledge of architecture increased. I also got involved in residential development and building and rehabbing houses. Each project was done with a great deal of thought going into the environment and landscape in which the house sat. Light and prevailing winds were a big part of the overall designs as well as the topography.

Judi Bettendorf first contacted me in 1994 about getting involved in the effort to save the Ruth and Russell Kraus house. I did the appraisal for the project, which was the basis for our negotiations with Mr. Kraus and St. Louis County.

I valued the 10.5 acres for its development potential and the house using Bernoudy homes as comparable sales data. It all fit nicely and I think everyone left the negotiating table feeling good.

I have continued my service on the board since that time, under the dynamic leadership of Joanne Kohn, and recently assisted in the effort to have a fund raiser for the newly formed "Legacy Fund"to support the ongoing preservation of the house.

Jane Shapleigh

Jane Shapleigh

Jane Shapleigh has been tremendously involved in the St. Louis community for years; so her interest in preserving the Kraus House is not a surprise.

As Jane explains it, "Joanne Kohn, Chairman of the FLWHEP board, told me about the house and invited me to be a board member. I was delighted to join an effort to save the house. For me, seeing the house for the first time with Joanne was a whole new experience of Frank Lloyd Wright's work...The Usonian House. Previously I had seen only some of the grander houses. Anyone visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park can relate personally to its simplicity and style within the tradition of brick houses in St. Louis. It is an exclamation mark important to the visual history of St. Louis."

Jane's involvement in the arts and other community organizations has extended over four decades, including being a
member of the St. Louis Art Museum Board of Trustees and a member of the National Council for the School of Art at Washington University. She has been member of the board of the FLWHEP since 1998, three years before the purchase of the Kraus House.

She has collected art, particularly of American artists of the late 19th and early 20th century, the period that parallels Wright's work and includes the art pottery graciously loaned by her and her husband, Warren, for this summer's Rookwood exhibit.

Jane has a keen sensibility to modern architecture and has built a house designed by noted American architect, Graham Gund. Her judgment about quality has informed her advice on how and why to save and restore the Kraus House. Joanne Kohn remarked, "Her input has been significant, and we are most grateful for her participation and the help given by both Jane and Warren."

Frank Lloyd Wright's Birthday Party Honoring
Ruth and Russell Kraus Kicks off Legacy Fund

Sponsored by Bakewell Realty & Heartland Bank

Russell KrausRussell Kraus, the original owner of the Kraus House and June 13 honoree

The FLWHEP will kick off the Ruth and Russell Kraus Legacy Fund and celebrate the 136th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday on Sunday, June 13. Members and friends are invited to join in the celebration in Ebsworth Park from 2-6 p.m.

The Legacy Fund has been created to finance ongoing restoration of the Kraus House and the development of its surrounding environs. The fund's focus this year will be the expansion and improvement of the road and the addition of parking facilities.

Tickets for the event start at $100 and can be purchased by calling 822-8359 8(FLW) and leaving your phone number or by responding to the invitation members will receive in the mail. The fund-raiser will help match the Whitaker Foundation's challenge grant of $50,000.

The event, sponsored by Bakewell Realty Company and Heartland Bank, is co-chaired by Sarah Bakewell, President of
Bakewell and John Wuest, Vice-Chairman of Heartland, with the assistance of Sally Pinckard of the FLWHEP and John Whitney of Bakewell.

John WuestJohn Wuest, Vice-Chairman of Heartland Bank.

Join us for an exciting afternoon, including at 3 p.m. a conversation with Russell Kraus, who will be interviewed by Joanne Kohn, Chairman of the FLWHEP. The party will include tours of the house, an exhibit of Rookwood Pottery loaned by Anabeth and John Weil and Warren and Jane Shapleigh, delicious food by Something Elegant, Mr. Wright's birthday cake, music by John Wuest and his group of talented musicians, croquet on the grounds, and enjoyment of the park.

Parking is available at St. Gerard Majella's Church, on the northeast corner of Dougherty Ferry Road. and Ballas
Road with a shuttle bus to the House. Please enter lot from Dougherty Ferry Road.

We look forward to many of you joining us on Sunday, June 13, to celebrate Mr. WrightÕs birthday and to kick off the Ruth and Russell Kraus Legacy Fund.

Rookwood Pottery Exhibit
Following the interest in Teco art pottery last summer and wanting to fill the house again with beautiful art, Rookwood art pottery will be displayed in the Kraus House, thanks to St. Louis collectors John and Anabeth Weil and Jane and
Warren Shapleigh. The exhibit opens June 13 at the FLW birthday party and closes September 30. Peter Shank, chairman of the house collection, will once again curate the exhibit.

Anabeth and John WeilAnabeth and John Weil with their Rookwood art pottery collection.

Oklahoma was More than OK!

Eighteen members of the FLWHEP had a unique opportunity -- to stay in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the weekend of April 23-25.

The Price Tower, the only fully developed Wright skyscraper, designed for oil pipeline magnate Harold Price, has only recently been renovated to include sleeping rooms. The tower now includes the inn, original offices and apartments on the top three floors, a museum with Wright furniture, an art center focusing on the art of architecture and design, and Copper, an acclaimed restaurant.

The group viewed more architecture by Wright (the Price House in Bartlesville and the Richard Lloyd Jones House in Tulsa), by Bruce Goff and others. The trip included seeing the Gilcrease and Philbrook art museums in Tulsa, visiting
Woolaroc, the former ranch of Frank Phillips of Phillips Oil abounding with wild animals and western art, walking on the Tall Grass Prairie owned by The Nature Conservancy and watching bison and newly blossomed Spring

It was a trip combining the best of nature and human ingenuity... Mr. Wright would have enjoyed it! A special thank you to Ellen Post, travel chairman for the FLWHEP, for organizing an excellent tour.

Price House in Bartlesville, OklahomaIn front of the Price House in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Bluebirds Find a Home in Ebsworth Park

Ebsworth Park combines a wide expanse of grasslands and woods ideal for attracting the bluebird, Missouri's state bird. So when Burt and Carolyn Noll offered to buildÊand care for nesting houses to encourage bluebirds, their offer was seen as a way to make the occasional sighting a regular happening.

Burt built the houses following a pattern attractive to the birds and placed them in the park in locations most likely to encourage nesting. The bluebird (Sialis sialis) is a cavity-nesting bird that faces competition from alien species, the starling and the English sparrow. Their population has benefited greatly by artificial housing provided by many organized and dedicated "bluebirders" such as Burt and Carolyn. Carolyn, one of FLWHEP's tour coordinators, tends
the houses making sure wasps, hornets and other birds don't appropriate them.

Shortly after the four bluebird houses were erected, a bluebird pair set up housekeeping in one of the four Noll creations. As of May 16, four blue eggs are waiting to be hatched and hopefully four new birds will enjoy the habitat and will start their own families in Ebsworth Park.

Thank you Burt and Carolyn for helping to make the park hospitable to bluebirds and more interesting to visitors.

Burt and Carolyn Noll