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Spring Green Restaurant Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

February 15th, 2024
Contact: Susan Kennedy

Taliesin Preservation

skennedy@taliesinpreservation.org

Contact: Kendall Poltzer

Wisconsin Historical Society

kendall.poltzer@wisconsinhistory.org

 

SPRING GREEN, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society announces the listing of the Spring Green Restaurant at Riverview Terrace (Iowa County), an integral part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy, on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was added to the National Register on February 8, 2024, and was listed on the State Register of Historic Places in November 2023.

Executive Director of Taliesin Preservation Carrie Rodamaker stated, “This building has such a fascinating history. The driving force behind it was for Wright to give back to the community and valley where he lived for the majority of his life. We are thrilled about its recognition at the state level—and now nationally.”

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Frank Lloyd Wright purchased the land overlooking the Wisconsin River at the intersection of State Highway 23 and County Road C with the intention of building a restaurant as a gateway to Taliesin. In 1953, he designed a seasonal restaurant called “Riverview Terrace.” By 1954, his concept changed to a year-round restaurant, and he continued to work on the design until 1957, when construction commenced. At that time, Frank Lloyd Wright was at the height of his career and as a result, the building progressed slowly, as he focused on large-scale projects that demanded his attention away from Taliesin.

In 1959, at the age of 92, Wright passed away, and construction halted until 1966 when the building was purchased by the Wisconsin River Land Development Corporation. Taliesin Associate Architects (TAA) was hired to complete the building with slight modifications to Wright’s original design. TAA was established after Wright’s death by his former associates and led by William Wesley Peters who was also Wright’s son-in-law.

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The building was completed and opened in 1967 as the Spring Green Restaurant. The official opening featured a gala that coincided with first lady “Lady Bird” Johnson’s visit to Taliesin to meet with Wright’s widow Olgivanna Lloyd Wright. The Spring Green Restaurant operated independently for 25 years, from 1967 to 1992, until Taliesin Preservation acquired it in 1993. It now serves as the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center.

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The midsection of the building connects two hills to form a bridge-like structure. The metal truss that spans the length of the building was salvaged from the collapsed Highway 23 bridge that connected the Wyoming Valley to Spring Green. It overlooks County Road C and the Wisconsin River, blending harmoniously into the landscape as Wright intended. The interior boasts a vaulted ceiling, expansive windows, red oak paneling, and a fireplace. Olgivanna was responsible for selecting the furnishings and various elements of the décor.

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Frank Lloyd Wright wanted Riverview Terrace to serve as a gateway to Taliesin, and by creating a restaurant at this location, he was also making a gift to his beloved Wyoming Valley and Spring Green neighbors.

Today, the building serves as the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center and administrative offices for Taliesin Preservation. The upcoming 2024 season includes tours, gift shop, and café beginning Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in April (and November) and daily May through October. It is located at 5607 County Road C, Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Additional information for the Spring Green Restaurant is available at https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/NationalRegister/NR2769

To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.

About the Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit wisconsinhistory.org.

About Taliesin Preservation

Taliesin Preservation is a Wisconsin-based 501(c)(3) founded in 1993. Its mission is to preserve Taliesin’s natural, built, and cultural environments through educational and cultural programming and provide a greater understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and ideas. In 2019, Taliesin was designated as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site for The 20th–Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

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