Are you planning a trip to the Taliesin Preservation? Here’s what’s in store!
What to Discover at the Taliesin Preservation
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Estate, an Overview
Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “The outside of any building may now come inside and the inside go outside, each seems as part of the other. Continuity, plasticity, and all the new simplicity they imply have at last come home.” And it’s those ideas, of the outside coming in and the inside coming out, that he sought to incorporate into what is now the Taliesin Preservation. Taliesin – Welsh for “shining brow,” a nod to his heritage and the house’s location on the brow of a hill – was his laboratory for architecture, design, and innovation, and it was also his principal residence for almost fifty years from 1911 – 1959. The campus is home to seven buildings from almost every decade of Wright’s career, the buildings merging seamlessly with the ponds and gardens around them.
Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin House
Most visitors are familiar with the Taliesin house because of the grisly murder story attached to its first inception. Built in 1911 for his lover, Mamah Cheney, the first house burned in 1914 when a servant intentionally set fire to the living quarters. The fire killed Cheney, her two children, and four others, leaving a devastated Wright to rebuild. But tragedy struck again in 1925 when the second Taliesin home burned as well – this time as a result of faulty wiring. Thankfully, though he lost many possessions, no one was injured, and Wright then designed and built the current building, sometimes called Taliesin III. With each rebuild, Wright changed the home, taking into account his growing family, and using it as a test subject for his newest ideas. The courtyards and terraces are exceptionally lovely and flow beautifully into the home.
Situated among the rolling green hills and valleys around the Wisconsin River, the estate encompasses approximately 800 acres and seven FLW-designed buildings. The square footage of the interiors of the buildings adds up to almost two acres, just of buildings! The buildings include: the Visitor Center, the Hillside School & Theater, Midway Barn, and Tan-y-Deri.
Taliesin Preservation Visitor Center, Bookstore, and Riverview Terrace Café
Tours depart from the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, which also houses the bookstore and café. It’s called a “bookstore,” but the offerings are more than just books! There are lots of great gift opportunities here, with décor and fixtures for your home, jewelry, prints, and more. You can even shop by appointment during the off-season. Check out some of their offerings at the online Taliesin Bookstore.
The Riverview Terrace Café features organic and locally grown items on its menu, great service, and delicious food. The desserts are not to be missed! Windows span the length of the building, giving diners an incredible view of the beautiful Wisconsin River. Plan to eat here either before or after your tour!
Tours for Every Budget
The Visitor’s Center, Bookstore, and Café are free and open to the public from May 1 – October 31, and on weekends in November and April. If you’d like a guided tour (and we definitely recommend this!), there are four options, ranging in price from $21 per person to $83 per person (some discounts available). Tours are available daily in May – October from 9:00 to 5:30, and only Friday – Sunday in April and November from 10:00 – 4:30. (Tours are closed December – March). Please book in advance, as tours often sell out! The guide for your tour will be a passionate student from the Taliesin Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. These students live on the property and help maintain it, along with volunteers from the local area.
Book Your Stay Today at the Westby House!
Located a short 1.5 hour drive from Taliesin, the Westby House Inn and Restaurant is the perfect place to end your day trip to the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate. Well-known as one of the best places to stay in Wisconsin, our exceptional accommodations and four-course breakfast will make sure that you are well-rested for all of your nearby Wisconsin adventures. Be sure to download our complimentary Vacation Guide to make sure you take advantage of everything Westby and the Driftless area have to offer!