A Double Celebration At Rockford's Frank Lloyd Wright House
It’s been one year since Rockford’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home opened to the public. This weekend, the Laurent House will celebrate the anniversary and Wright’s 148th birthday.
About 2000 people toured the Laurent House last year, usually a dozen at a time. Laurent House Foundation President Jerry Heinzeroth says the only house Wright designed for wheelchair accessibility is now on the must-see list for the architect's fans. Heinzeroth says Ken Laurent commissioned the design because he needed a home where he wouldn’t be constrained by his wheelchair.
With Wright's genius and Ken's tenacity as to what he needed, Wright was able to give him a house that gave him complete and total accessibility for the full 62 years he lived there.
This weekend’s anniversary tours include cupcakes and lemonade. Among those celebrating will be officials from another popular Wright attraction, the Dana Thomas House in Springfield.
Heinzeroth says the Laurent House has been fully restored, years ahead of schedule, after a ceiling cave-in pushed up the timeline. Next up is a $2 million campaign to make it more of a working museum. He'd like to develop more of a museum campus with more facilities on site, such as a gift shop. Heinzeroth wants more educational opportunities at the Laurent House, including programs for kids and the Wounded Warriors program.
Tours still originate at Midway Village Museum because there’s just no room to park at the Laurent House. Heinzeroth says the board is still figuring out the best uses for the historic home: most importantly, he says it’s their responsibility to make sure it’s in good shape for the next 260 years.