Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably America’s greatest architect, designed buildings so pioneering that, 50 years after his death, many still look like something from the future.
Six Wright buildings stand in Indiana today, and the original owner still lives in one—SAMARA, in West Lafayette.
Named by Wright for the winged pinecone seeds from the site’s trees, SAMARA belongs to John E. Christian, a retired Purdue professor. Less than a 10-minute walk from the Purdue campus, it’s a cool Usonian house, one of about 60 stylish and affordable one-story homes Wright designed for middle-class Americans. It’s been furnished and maintained since 1954 according to Wright’s exacting standards.
Only three years into their marriage, Christian and his late wife Kay were far from wealthy when SAMARA was being built, and unable to afford all of the accoutrements stipulated in the famously detail-oriented Wright’s plans. So in 1956, they made a bargain with the architect: as their finances allowed, they would buy or commission the furniture, rugs, curtains, and other elements that Wright designed for their home. It’s an agreement that Christian has honored for 55 years. Just last year, he ordered the custom bed linens designed by Wright.
Learn more about SAMARA at http://www.samara-house.org/welcome.htm.
About Hidden Gems Indiana
Each week Indiana Landmarks uses insider knowledge to highlight historic places worth a visit, from the quirky to the sublime: small towns, neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, parks, cemeteries, scenic drives, museums—you get the idea. Learn more about Indiana Landmarks at www.indianalandmarks.org.