Dana-Thomas House (1902), Springfield, Illinois


Constructed between 1902 and 1904 for Susan Lawrence Dana, a widow of considerable means, this house is larger than any Wright had built previously. Originally planned as a remodeling and expansion of the client’s existing house, it grew to include thirty-five rooms, three of which are two stories high: the gallery, dining room, and reception hall. Located just south of the state capitol and the governor’s mansion, the house is one of the most decorative of all of Wright’s early buildings and completely incorporates the client’s earlier Italianate house into its Prairie style brick structure.

Susan Lawrence Dana continued to own the house until the 1940’s but did not occupy the house after 1928, living instead in a smaller house nearby. The house and its belongings along with all her personal effects were auctioned over four days in 1944. She died in 1946 at the age of 83.

Thomas Publishing bought most of the furniture and the house, using it for offices until 1981 when it was purchased by the State of Illinois for $1 million. The purchase price included one hundred pieces of original furniture and hundreds of stained glass panels as well as the house and grounds.

 
Location: 301 East Lawrence Avenue, Springfeld, Illinois 62703
The Dana-Thomas House is open for tours 9 AM – 4 PM, Thursday through Sunday each week, closed Monday through Wednesday. Tours are given approximately every twenty minutes and last about an hour. Donations are requested, but not required.
 


Sources:
William Allin Storrer, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (1995), #72.
Thomas A. Heinz, Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide (2005), pp. 371-373.
Robin Langley Sommer, “Dana-Thomas House,” Frank Lloyd Wright: A Gatefold Portfolio (1997), no page number.