One of the things I love most about homeschooling is field trips. To my knowledge high school kids or even middle school kids don’t take field trips. I know we didn’t many moons ago.
Wednesday we had a wonderful day. We started out by touring the Rosenbaum House which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Rosenbaums, Stanley and Mildred and their 4 boys, are a very interesting family. Stanley’s father immigrated from Poland to Florence, Alabama. He owned and operated 12 movie houses which was the entertainment of the day. Stanley went to Harvard at 16 and received his Masters at the University of Denver. He met his wife Mildred in NYC where she studied music. She was also a Vogue model. Stanley returned to Florence to teach English at University of North Alabama. He also spoke 5 languages fluently. They received $7500 as a wedding gift to build their first home and through acquaintances contacted Frank Lloyd Wright to design their house.
The Usonian designed house was an idea of Wright for middle income families. He wanted it to fulfill the American dream of home ownership. The house originally contained 1,540 square feet, but when the household grew to include four sons, the family called upon Wright to design an addition. In 1948, 1,084 square feet were added. Wright was very excited by the addition because it was exactly what he built the Usonian houses for, so they could grow with the family as it grew. He also designed ALL the furniture in the house. Everything there is original except for 2 chairs that were reproductions.
I have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright my entire life but until about 4 years ago never knew there was a FLW home in Alabama.
He was also very picky. He had certain rules about his houses and gave the owners almost no room for changes. We were told a story about Mildred wanting a door in her boy’s room during the addition and he refused and said it would ruin the lines. She kept on until he added the door and she said it became one of her biggest regrets about the house. It opened up a huge circle area around the house and the 4 boys would drive her crazy running round and round the house.
The first thing we noticed from the outside is the roof lines. There are 5 different levels. FLW believed in using the surrounding environment and natural materials found in the area to build his houses. It isn’t built on a slab so it follows the line of the property which is higher at points. There are so many levels inside the 1 story house. These are mostly only a couple of steps down or up to each level.
The living room is one of my favorite rooms. It is floor to ceiling windows and built in bookcases that run the length of the room. The Rosenbaums requested screens and FLW refused but they insisted. (Obviously FLW hasn’t spent a summer in Alabama with mosquitoes!) But he made the screens on the INSIDE of the doors and windows. And they are bronze so it can reflect the light. It is beautiful from outside. He also built the house on a grid. In the living room he positioned the windows so that in the winter the sunlight comes all the way into the room for warmth but in the summer it doesn’t because of the heat. (This was before AC) Stanley would have ‘salons’ at his home for his students. They would come and he would read the final chapter of whatever novel he had assigned and they would all discuss it. That sounds like my DREAM evening. Especially if it was in this beautiful room!
The light is the main thing I noticed. It is beautiful. It gives everything a gold sheen almost.
There was a very small kitchen, a study, the living room, 3 bedrooms and a bath in the original structure. But the kitchen was TINY. When FLW designed the addition they added a larger kitchen in the new addition, a guest room, a bathroom and the boy’s room. The boys room is a GREAT space. There are 4 bunkbeds butted up against each other. Each has their own reading light. There is a fireplace (4 total I believe) and a huge window seat in front of more floor to ceiling windows. Each bedroom always opens up to the outside.
Keilee and I both loved it and both would love to live in a house like this. It is perfect for us. Since the house is smaller, he used space so well. There are tons of storage places that are as beautiful as the actual rooms.
Mildred was a weaver and used one of the bedrooms for her weaving supplies and loom. The picture in the top left and under are the new kitchen and the bottom left is the old kitchen.
A bedroom, the master bedroom that Keilee is in, the Japanese garden outside the window, the bench in the boys room, one of the beautiful closets and the window in the guest room. See how the glass is cut to form the corner?
The bunk beds.
After the tour we all went to eat lunch in the park. It was a great day with Moms talking and kids playing with swords under the trees!
Then we stopped by the new Welcome Center. I LOVE Welcome centers and we always stop at everyone we see. This one was new and very cool.
Muscle Shoals, which is right beside Florence, is a huge recording town. After the park we went to Cypress Moon Productions. It has an amazing history and we got a tour of the facilities from the owner. They record music and do film. Of course Keilee had to stay after the tour and talk to the owner about the possibility of her being an extra. She is sending Holly her resume. I am always proud of the way she will talk to people about things she wants to know.
There were WALLS and WALLS of people who had recorded here. If you click on the link above it has more detail. See the young Bob Dylan?
It was such a beautiful day with friends and learning so much. We have gotten into a bad habit of saying “no” a lot. We blame it on the cold or this or that. We used to do things almost every week. Now the only constant is running to the grocery or Dollar General 3 times a week! That is about to change.
We have plans this weekend even though its going to be BITTER cold. And there is a possibility of SNOW the first of the week but we aren’t getting excited quite yet. (well I’m a BIT excited)
Happy Valentine’s weekend all. By the way, Keilee hates Valentines Day. She said you should tell the people you love that you love them every day and there shouldn’t be a special day for it!
“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
Linking with Sylvia at Homeschooling Blog Linkup
Dawn at My Week In Review