June marks the 150th anniversary of Wisconsin native son and pioneering architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday. Our neighbor to the north is home to 45 Wright-designed structures, the most in any state. So how better to celebrate the Prairie school maestro’s sesquicentennial than to take in seven highlights (six Wright notables, plus one exhibit)—doable in a weekend, with overnight stays in Milwaukee and Madison.
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Wyoming Valley School Cultural Arts Center
Through November, tour Wright’s only school project, a nonprofit arts center built in 1957 as an homage to his mother (a former kindergarten teacher).
Wright lived here for 48 years, even after his mistress and half a dozen others were killed by a servant who set fire to the original home in 1914. Today you can roam the 800-acre campus and rebuilt structure with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at twilight ($100).
First Unitarian Society Meeting House
As a member (and son of two founders) of the First Unitarian Society, Wright accepted this commission when he was 80. Tours of the church, with its striking prow-style copper roof, are free on Sundays.
Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
Construction of Wright’s “dream civic center,” conceived in 1938, was defeated by a single vote. Thanks to referendums, it was completed in 1997 on the eastern side of Madison’s isthmus. Tours are $5.
Milwaukee Art Museum
Check out Wright’s early portfolio designs, furniture, textiles, and stained glass in Buildings for the Prairie ($17, July 28 to October 15), an exhibit at the city’s crown jewel museum.
American System-Built Homes
Wright’s bold vision of working-class housing—using an innovative assembly system that saved waste and wages—is reflected in a cluster of 1916 residences (tour one for $15) along Milwaukee’s Burnham Street.
SC Johnson Administration Building
Wrapped in 43 miles of glass tubing, the 1939 structure replaced a planned building deemed “too typical.” The free tour includes the 15-story Research Tower, one of the world’s tallest examples of cantilever construction.
Stay:Milwaukee: Book the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel (from $219) in the trendy Third Ward for its thriving rooftop scene. Madison: Try the new terrace-equipped AC Hotel Madison Downtown (from $224), featuring views of the capital city and its lakes.
While You’re There:Nab seats for A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the American Players Theatre outdoor amphitheater in Spring Green, next door to Taliesin (from $49, through October).
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