(AP) — Wisconsin is celebrating the 150th birthday of native son Frank Lloyd Wright with events and a new 200-mile trail directing visitors to nine of the sites, homes and buildings he designed.
Wright, considered America's best-known architect, was born June 8, 1867 in Richland Center. The self-guided trail was announced last year.
Highway signs, with a graphic design and typography inspired by Wright's spare, geometric aesthetics and style, were unveiled in December. The signs, 115 in all, are located in nine counties along various roads as well as on some Madison city streets.
Events scheduled for this year to mark his birthday include an exhibit called "Buildings for the Prairie" at the Milwaukee Art Museum, July 28-Oct. 15, featuring his early portfolio designs as well as furniture, stained glass and textiles.
Wright fans who love cycling may want to register for the Tour du Taliesin cycling event, May 21, which offers rides ranging from 20 to 100 miles, all starting at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center at Taliesin in Spring Green. As a teenager, Wright worked nearby on an uncle's farm, and tours of Taliesin — which include a home, studio, school and agricultural estate — show how Wright's love for the rolling hills and rustic landscape influenced his designs and aesthetics. Daily tours of Taliesin are offered May 1-Oct. 31.
Another Wright site on the new trail, the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Arts Center, is 2 miles away from Taliesin in Spring Green.
Also on the Wright trail is the AD German Warehouse in Wright's hometown. He designed the commercial warehouse building for a local commodity wholesaler, Albert Dell German. Now it houses a gift shop and small theater on the first floor and an exhibit of photo murals of Wright's work upstairs (open Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., May-October).
In Madison, the Wright trail includes the First Unitarian Society Meeting House and the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The Monona Terrace Center was first proposed by Wright in 1938 but not built until 1997, nearly 40 years after his death. In Milwaukee, an example of his Burnham American System Built Homes can be found on the 2700 block of West Burnham Street, with tours offered the second and fourth Sunday of the month.
Racine is home to three Wright sites on the trail. The global headquarters of the SC Johnson Co. includes the Wright-designed administration building, known for tree-shaped columns supporting the structure's Great Workroom, and a research tower where 7,000 glass tubes make up the windows. Tours, offered March through December, include a stop at a gallery with a rotating exhibit of Wright designs and artifacts. Also in Racine is Wingspread, on the shores of Lake Michigan, designed as a home for Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr., grandson of the founder of SC Johnson. The 14,000-square-foot house, now used as a conference center, is shaped like a four-winged pinwheel and is regarded as a prime example of Wright's Prairie Style. Tours are offered Wednesday-Sunday when conferences are not in session.
Wisconsin has 41 Wright-designed sites in all. Not included on the trail but a bonus for serious Wright fans: Three Wright-designed homes offer overnight stays. They are the Seth Peterson Cottage on Mirror Lake in Wisconsin Dells, the Schwartz House in Two Rivers, and the Aldebaran Farm in Spring Green.