Frank Lloyd Wright's Auldbrass

We seldom think of 20th century structures as "historic," but of course, they can be. Take for example, Auldbrass, one of the more than 1,000 buildings that Frank Lloyd Wright designed but the only one designed for a southern plantation complex. It had its trials and tribulations, well documented in Auldbrass: Frank Lloyd Wright's Southern Plantation by David G. De Long.

The design process began in 1938 for C. Leigh Stevens, who purportedly "would prove to be one of Wright's more demanding clients." Although spade work started in the fall of 1940, material and labor shortages caused by World War II and its aftermath slowed progress. Wright worked on Auldbrass alterations until his death in 1959. Stevens died in 1962. The buildings remained unfinished until Joel Silver, a successful Hollywood producer who had already rescued another Wright house, purchased the property in 1986 for approximately ~$148,000. He spent 15 years on Auldbrass's long delayed completion.

Auldbrass will be highlighted on this year's Beaufort County Open Land Trust's fall tour. Tickets go on sale August 1st.

To read more about Auldbrass, we recommend these titles:

Auldbrass: Frank Lloyd Wright's Southern Plantation by David G. De Long (New York: Rizzoli, 2003). [BDC, BLU, HHI]
Auldbrass vertical file [Available only in the BDC]
Auldbrass the Plantation Complex Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright : A Documented History of its South Carolina Lands by Jessica Stevens Loring (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1992) [BDC, BLU, LOB]
Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks by David Larkin and Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer New York: Rizzoli, 1993) [HHI]

If you want to read more about the architect and his work, Beaufort County Library has these materials to share with you:

Frank Lloyd Wright by Meryle Secrest [BEA, HHI]
Understanding Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture by Donald Hoffmann [BEA]
The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright [VHS] [ BEA]
About Wright: An Album of Recollections by those who knew Frank Lloyd Wright [HHI]
Frank Lloyd Wright: The Romantic Spirit by Carol Bishop [BLU]
Frank Lloyd Wright by Ken Burns [DVD] [BEA, HHI]

And, if you have a valid Beaufort County Library card and passwords for the subscription databases we provide through the "Online Resources" link on our library's homepage, you can learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright and Joel Silver in the Biography Resource Center.

For the more digitally inclined, a number of good websites discuss Wright and his work:
Frank Lloyd Wright: Great Buildings Online, Wright on the Web: A Virtual Look at the Works of Frank Lloyd Wright,
Save Wright,
Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Recorded by Historic American Buildings Survey, posted by the Library of Congress

Just for fun catch Frank Lloyd Wright's appearance on "What's My Line?" via YouTube. ("What's My Line?, a CBS panel game show was broadcast 1950-1967, followed by syndication from 1968-1975.)

For those who'd like to visit other places with Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings, the City of Buffalo, NY is very proud to have nine structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To encourage architectural history tourists the City is running a contest called "Win the Ultimate Frank Lloyd Wright Weekend in Buffalo." You can't win if you ain't in.

About the Author

Grace Cordial has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Beaufort District Collection at the Beaufort County Library since 1999.  The Beaufort District Collection exists to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history, culture, and environment of our part of the South Carolina lowcountry.  Besides the research room, Cordial manages the “Virtual BDC:” the BDC web pages, the Online Obituary Index, two digital collections, a new BDC.BCL Facebook page, and the Connections blog.  
Among her duties is to coordinate or present programs about local history, Gullah culture, and our coastal environment, including occasional instructional sessions about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research.