Do the Wright thing


Exhorting visitors to exercise their "Wright to vote," a five-foot-tall sign hanging outside the Robie House's gift shop is part of a campaign to win restoration funding for the 98-year-old landmark. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Robie House is one of two historic Hyde Park structures competing with 23 other Chicago-area landmarks for $1 million in rehab money. The other is sculptor Lorado Taft's Fountain of Time, which abuts Washington Park on the western edge of the Midway Plaisance.

Sponsored by the American Express Partners in Preservation Chicagoland Initiative, the competition is a Web-based election in which Chicagoans and architecture enthusiasts choose the winning landmarks. The online polls will remain open through this Wednesday, October 10 (visitors may cast one vote per day). Afterward a 20-person advisory panel will distribute grants to the sites with the most votes—dollar figures and number of winners to be determined—and announce the results in November.

Robie House staff members are requesting a grant to restore the guest bedroom's original finishes and fixtures. Meanwhile, Fountain of Time conservators seek funding to illuminate and protect the sculpture. Among the other sites in the running: the Great Lakes Naval Station's Hostess House, Evanston's Grosse Point Lighthouse, and Aurora's Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall.


Photos: Robie House tries to get out the vote; the Fountain of Time needs money for lighting.

Fountain of Time photo courtesy the Chicago Park District.

October 8, 2007