History & Culture

Iowa’s Alsop Home Being Auctioned

aslop-homePerhaps you’ve recently heard in the media that American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Carroll Alsop House is set for auction? It is true. The landmark home, up for private sale, is one of seven Usonian-style homes designed by Wright. The iconic 2,300-square-foot and four-bedroom home was designed by Mr. Wright in 1947 and completed in 1951. The sought-after structure is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

Alsop House sits in Oskaloosa, Iowa, roughly an hour from the town of Des Moines, and about a five-hour drive from Chicago. The bidding minimum for the historic home was set at $450,000 and is expected to be auctioned off in as-is condition by August. Wright’s original furnishings, worth over an estimated $100,000, are included in the sale and provide a rare opportunity for a lucky buyer to own these unique antiques and a piece of history.

Four families are among Alsop’s owners. The original homeowners, from where the home got its namesake, operated the area’s largest department store, and retained Wright’s services to build the home. They shared Wright’s talents with another family, the Lambersons, who also had a home built by Wright. The Lambersons ran a local Ford dealership at the time of their build. Both projects were purportedly overseen by Wright’s apprentice, John deKoven Hill, and builder Jim De Reus.

Realtor.com expounds on the Alsop House’s unique beauty, painting a picture of the glass-walled living room with cantilevered fireplace. Of the two homes, the Alsops and Lambersons, Realtor.com explains, “…the Alsop House is the grander…” The cantilevered carport and rectilinear designs are a repetition of Wright’s preferred and well-admired themes. The lush 1.75-acre lot on which the home sits, multiplies the home’s overall value and charm.

Alsop House needs repairs, requiring new windows and TLC to areas including the front porch and back staircase. Other important home features remain intact, including most of Wright’s signature characteristics, such as Tidewater Red Cypress woodwork with built-in shelving and a cozy fireplace in the primary bedroom. The “Cherokee-red” tinted concrete floors also increase its appeal. One of the bedrooms has the original set of bunkbeds intact, with a bespoke ladder to reach the nighttime accommodation.

Frank Lloyd Wright, who lived from 1867 to 1959, designed more than 1,000 structures over a 70-year period. He embraced a philosophy called organic architecture that is greatly admired and copied today. His style includes designing with harmony, humanity, and the environment in mind. Perhaps his most famous home is Fallingwater (1935), which is considered a masterpiece of architecture. Wright played a pivotal role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century and gained a big following, even today.

If you’re looking for an historic home surrounded in small-town charm, with big windows and plenty of natural light, and you have big bucks burning a hole in your pocket, consider putting in a bid for the Iowa home. Wright’s thoughtful evaluation of style and landscape enabled his homes to withstand the test of time, for homeowners to enjoy maximum views, and for nature to be seamlessly incorporated into his design. Perhaps that is why he is continually classified as an architectural genius.

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Fran
1 month ago

The man was an architectural genius!

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