HOUSE FOR MR AND MRS BERNARD SCHWARTZ  

   

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STILL BEND 
BERNARD  SCHWARTZ  HOUSE   TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN  1939                     
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT®      ARCHITECT
 
STILL BEND
MISSION

Frank Lloyd Wright called the House “Still Bend”, referring to the location on the East Twin RIver where the rivers slows to form a wide marsh. This superbly constructed Usonian was finished in the spring of 1940.

In 1938, Frank Lloyd Wright, at 71 years old, was entering the most productive period of his life and, once again, in the media spotlight.  The Architectural Forum devoted an entire issue to his work, Time Magazine ran a cover story entitled Usonian Architect, the Johnson Wax Administration building was under construction in Racine Wisconsin and Fallingwater was being completed in Pennsylvania. Edgar Kaufmann, already a close friend of Frank Lloyd Wright , was an enthusiastic advocate of Wright’s Usonian ideas.  Kaufmann was considering the idea of building a version of the Jacob’s House inside Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh, when concept took on a much larger scope when LIFE Magazine, in collaboration with The Architectural Forum, invited Wright to participate in an article called “Eight Houses for Modern Living”.   The magazine commissioned designs of a "Dream House" for four typical American families with incomes ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 a year; with both a traditional and a modern architect assigned in each case. Edgar Kaufmann went on to develop a plan to sell furnishings for the “Dream Houses” as well as market the houses themselves.

Wright designed a “Modern” house for the Blackbourn family, who were in the $5,000~$6,000 a year income range.  In a letter to the Blackbourns, he writes “American (I prefer to say Usonian) family life is unlike any other in the world and I think this plan recognizes it for pretty much what it is --a little private club-- with special privacies, ultra conveniences and style all the while." 

The Blackbourns, however, ran into a number of obstacles and were unable to build the design. 

Meanwhile In Wisconsin, Bernard Schwartz, a Two Rivers Business man, was ready to build a house for his family and gave Wright the opportunity to build his Life Magazine “Dream House”. Bernard and Fern Schwartz made the trip to Taliesin, where Frank Lloyd Wright, eager to see the Life Magazine scheme built, was happy to fulfill their dream of owning a house designed by Frank lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright modified the Life Magazine plans to accommodate the new site and client; changing materials from the original stucco and stone to brick and red tidewater cypress board and batten.  He went on further to refine the design by pushing up the ceiling in the living area making room for an interior balcony overlooking the sixty-five foot long, aptly named, recreation room.  Wright continued on to design tables, chairs, hassocks, beds, fruit bowls, lamps and a custom couch with built-in bookshelves and cantilevered end table.  Pleased with the completed Schwartz House, Wright went on to produce plans for extensive landscaping and numerous other additions including an addition to the utility room, a pergola leading to a farm unit and large boathouse to be built on the East Twin River.
Michael Ditmerhttp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,758888,00.htmlhttp://web.archive.org/web/20071023090228re_/www.life.com/Life/dreamhouse/taliesin/dreamhouse1938.htmlhttp://web.archive.org/web/20071023090228re_/www.life.com/Life/dreamhouse/taliesin/dreamhouse1938.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1shapeimage_5_link_2

Bernard and Fern Schwartz loved their new house and raised their son Steven there. In 1971 the Schwartz Family sold their beloved home to the second owners who lived in the home for thirty-three years, raising five children in the home.


Today the house is owned by Gary Ditmer and Michael Ditmer and is being lovingly restored, cared for and being made available to the public. Still Bend offers public tours, educational programs and is also available for overnight rental so that people may experience the magic of living in a Frank Lloyd Wright designed masterpiece, if only for a few days.

HISTORY

Frank Lloyd Wright called the House “Still Bend”, referring to the location on the East Twin RIver where the rivers slows to form a wide marsh. This superbly constructed Usonian was finished in the spring of 1940.

Our Mission is to preserve and restore Still Bend, promote the principles of “Organic Architecture” and  provide the opportunity for people to experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s visionary genius.