Penwern: A Frank Lloyd Wright Estate
The year was 1900. Frank Lloyd Wright needed a project to display his talents; Fred B. Jones needed a place in the country to escape the Chicago heat and hectic business world. The result was an amazing estate, which Frank Lloyd Wright named Penwern.
The estate consists of four structures; a main house, boat house, gate house and stable, which were built on a 10-acre site with 600 feet of lakefront and a commanding view of Delavan Lake. The boathouse was built in 1900, the house in 1901, and the stable and gatehouse followed in 1903.
Everything was thought of and taken into account. Wright included a huge insulated room in the stable for storing ice. He built a fireplace in the lower level of the boathouse so the workers could warm themselves while cutting ice for storage. A greenhouse was included to satisfy Fred’s interest in cultivating roses and fresh vegetables.
Now, some one hundred and ten years later, Penwern is as magical as it must have been when it was built. Today, just as it was then, it is a place to escape the summer heat and hectic business world.
In the Press
- “Architectural Archaeologist,” on Wright in Racine, November 21, 2017.
- “Reviving Penwern,” At the Lake Magazine, August 2017.
- Autumn 2014 issue of At the Lake Magazine.
- “The Coda to Penwern’s Rehabilitation,” on Wright in Racine.
- “Penwern – Wright’s Porch Design is Built,” on Wright in Racine.
- “The Path of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Path to Penwern,” by Sandra Landen Machaj, Spirit of Geneva Lakes, August 2020.