Sunday, September 14, 2014

#666 Steam-O-Rama

On a fabulous fall Friday, we head to Steam-O-Rama, the Ozarks Steam Engine Show held annually near Republic, MO for the last 53 years.

The last time we attended was in 1996 when our nephew was not quite 2 years old and when photos were still taken in black and white.   Back then, we spent a lot of time near the steam-powered bubble-making machine. 

Our interests change as we grow older and this year, we arrive in time for the parade of equipment.  Sometimes - just for fun - we call it the cavalcade of power! We sit in the grandstand as the announcer describes the steam engines during their slow (2 mph at top speed) march across the field. Each steam engine has a unique whistle used for communication and today used for our entertainment. 
The parade also includes gas engines and other antique tractors such as this orchard tractor, designed to pass easily under tree branches.
My favorite entry is the orange tractor with the engine in the back.  I especially appreciate the color coordination.
 Kelly's favorite tractor at the show is this Ford 4000.
And from the Johnston archives, here's the Ford 4000 Kelly used back in his farming days.

Yours in looking forward to the 54th Steam-O-Rama,

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

#665 Wright in the Midwest

After leaving the Penfield House, the Wright fun continues throughout our Midwestern sojourn.

Our time in Oak Park allows for just one Wright stop, so we choose a return to Unity Temple.  Early on a Thursday morning, our timing is just right and allows for a long quiet time to sit in the sanctuary of this masterpiece. 
In Madison, we are greeted by our friend Cindy who offers to take us around to Madison's Wright buildings.  We had visited the Monona Terrace but not much else, so we jump at the chance and jump in the car.
Two of the houses on Cindy's itinerary (John Pew house on Lake Mendota and Van Tamelen house) are not visible from the street but we enjoyed these 7 Madison masterpieces.

Madison #1:  Our first stop is the Robert Lamp house, not as easy to find as you'd think since the house is built in the middle of the block and we must walk up the driveway between 2 other houses to reach it.  That setting is unusual for Wright.    
Madison #2:  The Eugene Gilmore house, aka the airplane house, is a Prairie School design built in 1908.  This house is just steps away from Cindy's house in the University Heights Historic District and she walks past it each day on her way to work.    
 Madison #3:  Though not designed by Wright, this cool house is where Cindy lives and we love it!
Madison #4:  Our next stop is not a house but a church.  Construction of the First Unitarian Society was completed in 1951.  Kelly is particularly taken with the bench seating.
Madison #5:  The Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House was built in 1937 and is the first Usonian home. 
Madison #6: Not many have the opportunity to work with Wright twice, but when the Jacobs family outgrew their first house, Herbert commissioned Wright to build the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs Second House in 1944.
 Madison #7: The Walter Rudin house was completed in June 1959, two months after Wright's death.
North of Madison a few hundred miles, we find ourselves within spitting distance of a Wright-designed gas station, so we point ourselves in the direction of Cloquet, MN.  The Lindholm Service Station was built in 1958 and is the only station designed by Wright.
The Historic Park Inn in Mason City, IA is just one more reason to visit this architecturally interesting city.  We're now planning our 25th wedding anniversary here in 2019.  Come join us!

We've toured Wright's Stockman house in the past but couldn't help ourselves from driving by again on a beautiful summer night in Mason City.
Yours in appreciating the Wright-filled Midwest,

Monday, September 08, 2014

#664 In Usonian Style

Twenty years ago we were wed.
To celebrate, here's what we said:
"We'll rest for a while,
In Usonian style,
Where with friends our anniversary we'll spend."

For our 20th wedding anniversary, we reserved the Louis Penfield house near Cleveland for a celebration with friends.  Kelly and I enjoy the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and have visited many of his houses through the years.  Ten years ago, we celebrated our 10th anniversary in the Bernard Schwartz House, a Usonian home in Two Rivers, WI, and we are eager to carry on the tradition in another beautiful Usonian.

This one is different.  Working for a client who was 6'8" tall, Wright deviated from his typical low entryways. The doorways are 8' tall.  But the tall entry still feels compressed, this time in width. The open stairway is so narrow that all the upstairs furniture had to be built in place.

After leaving the compressed entry, we marvel at the height and width of the glass-walled living room.
We decide to cook a meal at the house, so we do our shopping at a roadside stand to stock up on all the essentials for a summer feast.
 And enjoy it in the beauty of our temporary home.

Yours in celebrating the Wright way,