The Lewis House in Tallahassee, Florida, is one of his few “solar hemicycle” houses, owned now by Byrd Lewis Mashburn (pictured), the daughter of the original owners, who is raising funds and seeking volunteers for the house’s restoration. Empty for some years, “Mashburn said she is grateful now for the steady stream of visitors, but they are putting a strain on the 2,282-square-foot home. It needs repairs to its roof, plumbing and wiring systems.”
[The first owners] Clifton and George Lewis first met Wright in Lakeland at Florida Southern College, where Wright-designed structures dominate the campus. It was 1950 and Wright was on hand for the dedication of his new Administration Building. During a reception for Wright, the Lewises got in the long receiving line to meet the great architect and decided to pitch their idea for a new house. …
When Clifton met Wright she said: "Mr. Wright, we're the Lewises, and we are from Tallahassee. We have a lot of children and not much money, and we hope you will do a house for us.”
George, who worked for his family's bank, the Lewis State Bank, finally bought five wooded acres south of Lake Jackson that included a stream and a spring. They sent topographic maps and photos off to Wright. The house and the land cost $48,000.
The house was added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1979. Members of the Lewis family lived there until 2010.
The colourful and iconoclastic Clifton Lewis, who was also one of the founders of the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts, The Tallahassee Museum and a foot soldier in Tallahassee's civil rights movement of the early '60s, died in February 2014. She was 94.
"We still have the opportunity for it to be saved for public use," Mashburn said. "That's what our parents wanted. They wanted other people to have this amazing experience - not as a museum - but as a place where you can come and have your graduation party. Later on, it will be a wonderful place for a honeymoon. And occasional weekends and overnight visits for people. ... It's just a wonderful place."
For more on Spring House, visit www.preservespringhouse.org .