Two Pioneers Bus Tour

Saturday, August 23 - Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Pioneer is defined as a person who develops new ideas and methods. Frank Lloyd Wright and Abraham Lincoln, two familiar names in American History were both Pioneers. The Foundry Art Centre’s Two Pioneer’s Bus Tour will explore both Frank Lloyd Wright and Abraham Lincoln and the incredible impact they have on our nation.

Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer - writer and educator, who designed structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. He was the pioneer of the Prairie School movement of architecture and is recognized by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.”

Another pioneer, Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, was born in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky and is regarded as one of America's greatest heroes. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieving the highest office in the land; then, a sudden and tragic death at a time when his country needed him most to complete the great task remaining before the nation.

The Tour

We’ll leave the Foundry Art Centre’s parking lot at 6 AM sharp and head to Springfield, IL to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, where we’ll see amazing, well-preserved artifacts that tell the entire life story of our 16th President.  This state-of-the-art Museum was carefully designed with exacting historical detail to encourage an “experience” for all visitors.

Next, we’ll travel a short distance for a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana Thomas House. Built in 1902 for a forward-thinking socialite, Susan Lawrence Dana, the home contains the largest collection of site-specific, original Wright art glass and furniture.  This was Wright’s first “blank check” commission and is a brilliant showcase of craftsmanship in glass doors, windows and light fixtures, terra cotta sculpture and an exquisite mural.  The Dana Thomas house is the best preserved and most complete of Frank Lloyd Wright’s early Prairie houses.

We’ll board the bus and travel to Lombard, Illinois where we’ll stay overnight at the Embassy Suites.

After breakfast on Sunday, we’ll head to Oak Park where one of the world’s largest collections of Frank Lloyd Wright homes is located. Upon arrival, we’ll have a guided tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio which has been restored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust to its appearance in 1909, the last year Wright lived there with his family. Frank Lloyd Wright purchased the property and built the home in 1889 with a $5,000 loan from his employer Louis Sullivan. Wright was a 22 year old newlywed at the time and this is the home where he and Catherine Tobin raised their six children. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes and is a National Historic Landmark.

Finally, there is a guided walking tour of the area around Wright’s home. In the neighborhood, there are 25 structures built between 1889 and 1913 and it’s here that Wright developed and perfected his signature Prairie Style architecture.  A number of these homes are within a 3 or 4 block radius of the FLW home and studio.  If you prefer, you may spend extra time exploring the FLW gift shop.

Unity Temple, a Unitarian Universalist Church, stands as the last surviving public building from Wright’s prolific Prairie period, and is the oldest Wright structure to be in the hands of its original owners and still used for the same purpose for which it was built. Because it is still a working church, we cannot go inside on Sunday, however, it may be viewed from the outside.

After a break for lunch, we’ll board the bus and return to St. Charles, Missouri arriving back at 7:30 PM on Sunday the 24th.