Dana/Thomas House, Springfield, IL

New Photos taken May 10, 2004

If you have an appreciation for the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, you must see this home.  It embodies everything that Wright loved and believed in during his early Prairie Style architecture.  Built in 1902, it was one of the best collaborations between client and architect of any Wright building.  The client had impeccable taste and plenty of money to spend on the home and she gave Wright almost complete free reign over the design and construction.  Her one stipulation was that one room from the home that her grandfather had built on the site needed to remain intact within Wrights design.  For that reason, there is a relatively traditional Victorian parlor in the middle of an otherwise modern (even by todayís standards) home.  (Wright didnít completely accede to Mrs. Danaís wishes.  He lowered the ceiling, raised the floor, changed the lighting and added art glass to the windows.)   

The home is HUGE.  Our tour guide was trying hard to go quickly through the home since she really wanted to go home for the day.  She obviously loves the home because she couldnít stop herself from slowing down to show us more detail and tell us all sorts of fascinating historical tidbits about the home.  The tour is supposed to take 50 minutes.  She hurried us through in just over an hour and a half.  Unfortunately since we were the last group of the day, we didnít get to snap pictures in the rear courtyard of the home.  That was all closed up by the time we got there.  That didnít stop me from using my long arms to get a few shots of the back of the house.   

I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful this home is.  The state of Illinois has owned it since the 1970ís and they have done an amazing job of restoration.  It is in almost PERFECT shape after almost a century of harsh Illinois weather.  According to the guides and the literature, the home has the largest collection of original Wright furnishings that were designed for the building in which they reside.  I donít doubt that one bit.  Almost everything that the guide pointed out was original and it was all in AMAZING shape.   

I have visited the Dana/Thomas house 4 times now and I canít wait to go back again.  This home takes my breath away and brings a tear to my eye. 

Though the door is not hidden, like many Wright homes, there is so much to this house, that you could easily look to other places on the home for the front door. 

The arch over the door is beautiful.  The roman bricks are great, but what really makes the doorway is the butterfly design art glass and the beautifully designed door. 

The Bedroom windows are beautiful.  The view from inside isn't much to look at now, but in 1902 the prairie came all the way up to Susan Dana's doorstep. 

This is the house that inspired my tattoo.

Photographed here at the Hagan house in Pennsylvania.

New photos of the Dana/Thomas house:

In May of 2004 I was travelling through the Springfield, Illinois area on my way to Wright plus. I happened to be going through on a Monday, which is the one day that the Dana house is not open to the public. Fortuantely you can't hide something like the Dana house.

Side of the gallery.

Another view of the gallery windows

The urns that guard the entry to the courtyard and visitor's center (also known as the stable).

This is a good view of the eaves and the plaster work near the roof line. This is one of the guest bedrooms upstairs, and Ms Dana's Mother's room on the first floor.

Wright didn't hide the front door on this one. :)

The first floor windows are to the living room and the second floor windows are to Ms. Dana's bedroom.

Can you imagine what pattern the light makes in Ms. Dana's bedroom?

Another view of the East end of the house.

From across the street

I love the brick and glass work around the front door.

The front door and a sun porch to the East

Looking along the hallway to the gallery. The wall gives good privacy from the street. You can't see in through these windows.

The fence that goes between the yard and the railroad tracks to the West.

The yard is closed on Mondays, but I'm a very tall person. You can see the entry way to the yard on the right, marked by the two urns I showed earlier. Towards the center of the photo is the galler and to the left are the servant's quarters and the kitchen.

This is the outside of the stable. It is now used as a visitor's center. You can see the "barn doors" as well as the doorway to bring hay into the carriage house. I imagine this was later used as a garage.

The view of the stable and Dana house from across the railroad tracks.

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