Land of Lincoln I: Miracles of Architecture

Sometimes, it is just time for a road trip. Nothing fancy, but hopping in a car and taking in a new environment. Like Springfield, Illinois. Once, I drove right through it by train, and I knew Lincoln’s house stood there, and those two reasons combined were enough to make the trip. After a two hour drive, we arrived at our hotel. The girl behind the counter checked us in and rolled her eyes when we told her we came to Springfield just for fun. We quickly noticed that Springfield has its own version of the Eiffel Tower, but with an Illinois feel. In the center of the city, some ugly crossbreed between a water tower and a sky scraper pollutes your view from every angle.

springfield tower

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, people will desperately try to keep it out of their pictures.

Luckily, the town harbors a counter weight in design: the Dana Thomas house, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect so famous, he was included in my Dutch high school curriculum under the header ‘cultural and artistic appreciation development’ (CKV, voor de liefhebber). I hated the class, but once you get older, it is nice to have some basic form of appreciation; at the very least, it helps you catch on to references in pop culture. The Dana Thomas house is literally remarkable on the outside, and decent on the inside. I really enjoyed the attention to detail that Wright put in every little part of the house to underline the effects he was going for.

My favorite detail: to emphasize the horizontal design of the house, the horizontal grooves between the bricks are deeper than the vertical ones, so that the shadows help draw the horizontal lines.

My favorite detail: to emphasize the horizontal design of the house, the horizontal grooves between the bricks are deeper than the vertical ones, so that the shadows help draw the lines the architect wants you to see.

As we walked around the rest of the town, I couldn’t help but feel the old Wright wouldn’t enjoy his creation as much. After all, when we left town and looked back, all we saw was the Springfield water tower sky scraper. So much for artistic appreciation.

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