If you’re not already a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, you will be after reading Andrew Parks’ latest story for Explore Minnesota — featuring five ways to experience the Wisconsin-born architect’s Prairie-style work right here in Minnesota.
While most of our state’s 13 sites are private, some can be toured in person. You can even Airbnb a wing for a little taste of that Usonian life.
🏡 The Elam House in Austin 🏡
One of Wright’s largest builds is just two miles from the Spam Museum. Peter Plunkett began welcoming guests into his childhood home a decade ago, some 55 years after his dad bought the property. Most overnight stays begin with an hour-long tour, but then Plunkett closes the door that separates the main house from its spacious mother-in-law suite and leaves guests be. “We lived in this house,” says Plunkett. “We shot hockey pucks, threw footballs — it’s a solid house. If you run into a wall, you’re gonna knock yourself out.” Visit theelamhouse.com for booking info.
⛽️ Lindholm Oil Company Service Station in Cloquet ⛽️
More than just an architect, Wright was an urban planner with a vision for the future. A cornerstone of his “Broadacre City” blueprints was centralized gas stations like this. But unlike the sketch-based prototype at the Pierce-Arrow Museum in Buffalo, New York, Lindholm’s fill-‘er-up is a real business that’s been run by the same mechanic, Chris Chartier, since 1982. He’s fine with superfans taking a closer look at the bones of the place, too, from its dusty observation deck to its sky-lit service bays.
💸 The Malcolm Willey House in Minneapolis 💸
Given his ego, it’s no surprise that Wright agreed to build Nancy Willey “a creation of art” after she wrote him a fawning letter. In typical Wright fashion, he immediately blew his budget—submitting a proposal that cost nearly twice the agreed-upon commission. The parties worked it out and the Malcolms described the final build as “thrilling beyond words.” Today the privately owned home offers tours for groups of 10 to 16 people. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
For a closer look at other Wright creations, including the Fasbender Medical Clinic in Hastings, head over to Explore Minnesota.