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Illinois/Wisconsin

Architectural Masterworks of Frank Lloyd Wright

Program No. 22976RJ
Celebrate legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright as you visit his greatest works in Wisconsin and Illinois, from his home and studio to the S.C. Johnson building.
Length
8 days
Rating (4.75)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,649

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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 14 - May 21, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Jun 18 - Jun 25, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Jun 25 - Jul 2, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Sep 3 - Sep 10, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Oct 15 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
2,649
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 14 - May 21, 2023
Starting at
3,069
Jun 18 - Jun 25, 2023
Starting at
3,069
Jun 25 - Jul 2, 2023
Starting at
3,069
Sep 3 - Sep 10, 2023
Starting at
3,069
Oct 15 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
3,069

At a Glance

Frank Lloyd Wright revolutionized architecture, opening up new realms for designers and creating new challenges for builders and engineers. Of the 532 Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the U.S., over 150 of them were built in Illinois and Wisconsin. Celebrate the work of this legendary architect as you visit some of his greatest works in the Midwest. Through discussions and field trips with Wright experts, learn how his work continues to impact modern architecture, and discover some of that modern architecture on city explorations of Madison, Racine, Milwaukee, Oak Park and Chicago with local experts.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles and standing for up to three hours.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • In historic Oak Park, Illinois, discover Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, designed by Wright and considered by many scholars to be the world’s first example of true modern architecture.
  • Experience the work of Frank Lloyd Wright in Racine through an exploration of the S.C. Johnson Wax Administration Building and Research Tower, considered one of the 25 most important buildings of the 20th Century.
  • Learn about the rich history and culture of architecture in Chicago on an architectural study of the city from the Chicago River.

General Notes

For the convenience of participants who wish to fly in and out of Chicago, or drive and park their cars for the entirety of the program, the motor coach will depart the hotel in Wisconsin at 9:00 am and return to the Club Quarters in Chicago in the early afternoon.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Marshall Jacobson
Born and raised in Chicago, Marshall Jacobson knows the Windy City! He graduated from South Shore High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of Illinois-Urbana and a master’s degree in social service administration at the University of Chicago. He is a Chicago Greeter and was a volunteer for five years for the Chicago Architecture Foundation as an award-winning docent. Marshall served as the vice president for development at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, and is an active supporter and visitor to the Chicago History Museum, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Marshall actively participates in a variety of liberal arts classes, with favorites in art history and film, at Northwestern University. Besides being a bon vivant and Renaissance man, Marshall is an actor and has performed in several productions around Chicago.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Marshall Jacobson
Marshall Jacobson View biography
Born and raised in Chicago, Marshall Jacobson knows the Windy City! He graduated from South Shore High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of Illinois-Urbana and a master’s degree in social service administration at the University of Chicago. He is a Chicago Greeter and was a volunteer for five years for the Chicago Architecture Foundation as an award-winning docent. Marshall served as the vice president for development at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, and is an active supporter and visitor to the Chicago History Museum, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Marshall actively participates in a variety of liberal arts classes, with favorites in art history and film, at Northwestern University. Besides being a bon vivant and Renaissance man, Marshall is an actor and has performed in several productions around Chicago.
Profile Image of Lonnie Stoller
Lonnie Stoller View biography
Lonnie Stoller grew up in Lincolnwood, a close suburb of Chicago, and spent many days taking the "El" downtown to explore the city with her friends. Since then, she has continued her world exploration and has traveled around the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, and Israel. Lonnie has enjoyed a range of careers, working as a radiologic technologist, event planner, and perfume salesperson. She is delighted to share her love for Chicago with Road Scholar participants.
Profile Image of Mark Hertzberg
Mark Hertzberg View biography
Mark Hertzberg is the author and photographer of four books about Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in southeastern Wisconsin: “Wright in Racine” (2004). “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hardy House” (2006), “Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower” (2010), and “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Penwern: A Summer Estate” (2019). He is the newsletter editor and secretary of “Wright in Wisconsin,” the only statewide group devoted to the architect’s work. A native of New York City, Mark received a BA in international relations from Lake Forest College in 1972.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower
by Mark Hertzberg
The Research Tower fascinated visitors to the adjoining landmark SC Johnson Administration Building because the Tower was not open for tours until a couple of years ago. Hertzberg was given rare access to the company archives for this richly illustrated history of the tower, which includes recollections from chemists who worked in the building before it closed 35 years ago. Frank Lloyd Wright and the Johnson Wax Buildings, by Jonathan Lipman Lipman extensively researched company archives for the first in-depth history and appraisal of the SC Johnson Administration Building, SC Johnson Research Tower, and Wingspread, concurrent with a national traveling museum exhibition.
Years with Frank Lloyd Wright: Apprentice to Genius
by Edgar Tafel
Tafel was one of the original Taliesin Fellowship apprentices (1932-1941) and supervised construction of the SC Johnson Administration Building and of Wingspread, both in Racine, while in his mid-twenties. The book is filled with Tafel’s delightful anecdotes about Wright and Taliesin.
Chicago Architecture: 1885 to Today
by The Chicago Architecture Foundation, Edward Keegan, Lynn J. Osmond
Universally recognized as an architectural center, Chicago contains some of the world’s finest buildings by the most renowned architects of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and many more left their stamp on the city’s skyline and, as a result, influenced the practice of architecture across the globe. This book, published in association with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, features an in-depth analysis of forty-two seminal works of Chicago architecture. This accessible and engaging volume is the latest addition to the successful Universe Architecture Series. Both a guide for those visiting the city and a valuable reference for architecture enthusiasts, Chicago Architecture includes residential icons such as Mies van der Rohe’s 860–880 Lake Shore Drive, skyscraper prototypes such as Sullivan’s Schlesinger and Mayer Store (Carson Pirie Scott & Co.), and engineering masterpieces such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Sears Tower.
Frank Lloyd Wright on Architecture, Nature, and the Human Spirit, - A collection of quotations
by Edited by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer
A slim volume of Wright quotations.
Travel Guides: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide
by William Allin Storrer and Tom Heinz. Storrer
There are two particularly popular books, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright by William Allin Storrer and the Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide by Tom Heinz. Storrer’s book has more complete information, albeit with some inaccuracies, but is hard to follow because he groups Wright’s work through his unique “S” numbering system (by types of buildings). Heinz’ book is very easy to use on a trip because he groups the buildings geographically. Participants on this trip can thus easily follow a thread from northern Illinois through southeastern Wisconsin, into Madison.
Frank Lloyd Wright: An American Architecture
by Edited by Edgar Kaufmann
A collection of Wright’s writings about architecture.
Wright in Racine
by Mark Hertzberg
This book covers Wright’s built and unbuilt work in Racine. The dozen commissions represent almost every aspect of his work after 1900.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace: The Enduring Power of a Civic Vision
by David V. Mollenhoff and Mary Jane Hamilton
The struggle to realize Wright’s Monona Terrace is the story of artistic vision being stymied by local civic and political opposition. Wright’s concept was finally recast as a convention and meeting center 60 years later.
Chicago: A Brief History
by Vook
"Chicago: A Brief History" presents a comprehensive look at the city’s transformation from a fur trade outpost to America’s Second City. This compact digital compendium helps you track the diverse forces that shaped the city as we know it. You’ll explore the exciting history behind the city’s cultural, economic, and architectural mainstays. You’ll also gain valuable insight into groundbreaking Chicago events and major figures down through history, including: The Birth of a Major Trade City The Great Fire of 1871 Construction of the Sears Tower Chicago’s “Public Enemies” The University of Chicago ...and more.
Loving Frank
by Nancy Horan
Fact and fiction blend in a historical novel that chronicles the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, from their meeting in Oak Park, when they were each married to another, to the clandestine affair that shocked Chicago society.
Frank Lloyd Wright and Madison: Eight Decades of Artistic and Social Interaction
by Paul E. Sprague, Frank Lloyd Wright, Diane Filipowicz, Mary Jane Hamilton, and Russell Panczenko
We will be spending two nights in Madison. This book, which was the companion to a museum exhibition, is a scholarly look at his work in Madison.
Hometown Architect: The Complete Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park And River Forest, Illinois
by Patrick F. Cannon
The book is a complete guide to the many homes Wright designed in his hometown of Oak Park and in the adjoining suburb of River Forest.
A View from the River: The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise
by Jennifer Marjorie Bosch
"To see what's up in Chicago, come down to the river. Float along the Main Branch for views of Lake Point Tower and Marina City, up the North Branch to the condo-converted Montgomery Ward Catalog House, then down the South Branch to take in the soaring Sears Tower. This book, a companion to the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, is your guide to the buildings that make downtown Chicago world famous for architecture and infrastructure. During the past two hundred years, engineers and architects designed twin engineering marvels, the Chicago skyline and the Chicago River. Dredged, straightened, its direction reversed, the river flowed a varied course through the city's history, as Chicagoans built factories, civic structures, waterside homes and parks, and the world's tallest steel-and-glass monuments to big business. The story of Chicago is the story of its river. A View from the River spotlights over fifty buildings, recounting an urban tale that continues to unfold."
Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture
by John Zukowsky, Martha Thorne,Stanley Tigerman
"Chicago is universally recognized as the cradle of modern architecture. It is known worldwide for the development, beginning in the late 1800s, of the renowned ""Chicago School"" of commercial building. In the early 1900s, Chicago saw the birth of Wright's ""Prairie School"" of residential design, which gave rise to the modern, open-plan house we know today. Other world-renowned architects were also based in Chicago, such as Louis Sullivan, who designed the Chicago Stock Exchange, and Daniel Burnham, architect of the famous Rookery Building of the 1890s. The 1940s were to see the completion of Mies van der Rohe's revolutionary Illinois Institute of Technology and his astonishing Lake Shore Drive apartment buildings. Skidmore Owings & Merrill's landmark Inland Steel Building was finished in 1954, their John Hancock Center in 1970, and their Sears Tower in 1974. Philip Johnson and John Burgee's 190 South LaSalle Street office tower went up in 1987. The 200 illustrations in this volume all come from The Art Institute of Chicago's repository of 150,000 architectural drawings, vintage photographs, models, and building fragments, which comprise one of the most important such archives. These illustrations reveal interiors and details that give us a greater appreciation of Chicago in particular and architecture in general. With its definitive text, the book is a striking record of Chicago's great buildings and will be an important reference on the subject for years to come."
Building Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home of Love and Loss
by Ron McCrea
Much has been written about, and made of, Wright’s love for Mamah Borthwick (Cheney) and their work in Europe in 1909-1910. This meticulously-researched book is the best read about their life together and of the building of Taliesin. It supersedes other accounts, including one popular non-fiction account of the fire at Taliesin which has notable errors.
Frank Lloyd Wright - A Life
by Alda Louise Huxtable
This is considered one of the best and most accurate of the many Wright biographies.
Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography
by Frank Lloyd Wright
Wright’s own story, albeit with some embellishment. An important book to gain an understanding of the architect and the context for his work.
At Taliesin: Newspaper Columns by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Friendship, 1934 - 1937
by Randolph C. Henning
Wright and his apprentices wrote weekly newspaper columns about life at Taliesin.
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8 days
7 nights
15 meals
6 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Chicago, IL
D
Hyatt Place Chicago River North

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration 3:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table on the first floor to register with the program staff and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. We’ll then meet in the hotel lobby and walk together to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a delicious plated welcome dinner with iced tea, water, tea, or coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. The remainder of the evening is free to continue getting to know your fellow participants. Settle in to your room and get a good night’s sleep for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
2
Architecture Study Cruise, Robie House
Chicago, IL
B,L
Hyatt Place Chicago River North

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; periods of standing up to 1/2 hour at a time. Driving approximately 8 miles one way; up to 1/2 hour each way to/from Hyde Park.

Breakfast: We will enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board a boat to experience the spectacular skyline architecture of Chicago from the perspective of the Chicago River. The Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed much of the city's commercial property, which provided an opportunity for those who had the vision to merge structural steel and plate glass into vertical architectural wonders, thereby giving birth to the first skyscrapers. Through commentary provided by our onboard expert we will gain a deeper understanding of the works of famous 19th and 20th century architects including Burnham, Jenny, Root and Sullivan, Van der Rohe and Goldberg.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After boarding our motorcoach we will transfer to spend the afternoon in Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago and President Obama. Upon arrival, we will go on an expert-led exploration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House (1908-1910). Completed in 1910, this home is talked about as one of the most important buildings in American Architecture. Please note: The second floor of Robie House, which includes the living room, dining room and kitchen, is not wheelchair accessible.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions

Evening: We will return to the hotel and the remainder of the evening will be at leisure. You may choose to take in the view of the city from 360 Chicago in the John Hancock Building, see the color-light show at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, or take an evening stroll down the Magnificent Mile. The Group Leaders will be happy to offer information and suggestions.

DAY
3
Home & Studio Oak Park, Unity Temple
Chicago, IL
B,L,D
Hyatt Place Chicago River North

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles throughout the day; many stairs at FLW home and studio. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 11 miles one way; up to 1/2 hour each way. Getting on/off a boat; ride will be approx.; about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach bound for historic Oak Park where we will have an expert-led exploration of the first home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. While here, we’ll gain a deeper insight into the work of Wright and have an opportunity to travel around this historic neighborhood with a subject expert. Oak Park is renowned for having the greatest number of Wright-designed buildings. Please note: The Frank Lloyd Wright Home is not accessible to wheelchairs of any size as all entries to the Home have stairs. The Studio balcony is not accessible to wheelchairs. It is only accessible by a steep, narrow stairway.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Oak Park, we’ll have plated meals, plus iced tea, coffee, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Afterwards, we’ll explore another important of Frank Lloyd Wright. We'll have an expert led exploration of the Unity Temple. The Unity Temple is essential example of Wright’s early Prairie School of design and one of eight designated UNESCO World Heritage sites of Wright's works.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with iced tea, water, hot tea, or coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Evening At leisure. You may wish to seek out some of the many choices for entertainment in the city or relax at the hotel. The Group Leaders will be happy to offer suggestions. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
SC Johnson, Racine
Racine, WI
B,L,D
Double Tree by Hilton Racine Harbourwalk

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles throughout the day; many stairs. Driving approximately 80 miles from Chicago to Racine; about 1.5 hours. A Legal ID is required for a field trip to the SC Johnson.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll board a motorcoach for Racine, Wisconsin where we will meet our local expert.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Racine, Wisconsin.

Afternoon: At the restaurant in Racine, we will be joined by a local Frank Lloyd Wright expert for our study of Wright in Wisconsin. The author of three books about Frank Lloyd Wright's work in Racine, Wisconsin, and an award winning journalist, our local expert also serves on the Board of Directors of Wright in Wisconsin. Next, we’ll travel to the SC Johnson corporate headquarters in Racine for a visit. Both the Administration Building and Research Tower were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Administration Building is considered by many to be one of 25 most important buildings of the 20th Century. Known for its unique Great Workroom, the open work space features dendriform columns and circular "birdcage" elevators. Please note: SC Johnson Golden Rondelle Theater and Fortaleza Hall: Stairs are required to reach the upper levels of the Administration Building. The Research Tower is accessible only via stairs. We’ll then transfer to the hotel and check in.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: After dinner, our local expert will give a lecture on Penwern, Wright’s Fred B. Jones summer cottage and estate on Delavan Lake, Wisconsin (1900 - 1903).

DAY
5
Frank Lloyd Wright in Milwaukee & Madison
Middleton, WI
B,D
Fairfield Inn and Suites Madison West/Middleton

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles throughout the day, some steps. Driving approx. 135 miles throughout the day in two trips; about 2.5 hours total – approx. 30 miles, 1/2 hour, to Milwaukee; Approx. 104 miles, 2 hours, to Madison.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated breakfast with coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach for a short journey to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where we will go on an expert-led exploration of the American System-Built Homes (1912-1916), designed by Wright for low and moderate income families. Please note: Frank Lloyd Wright's American System-Built Homes are not handicapped accessible. Our next stop will be in Wauwatosa where our own resident expert will lead us on an exploration of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Byzantine architectural forms are reinterpreted here to reflect a modern aesthetic in this design. Wright began to design the Church in 1956, but he died prior to completion of construction.

Lunch: On your own at the Milwaukee Public Market

Afternoon: This afternoon, we’ll transfer from Milwaukee to Madison where we’ll see more of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. On our way to the hotel for check-in, we will stop to look at Monona Terrace, located on the shore of Lake Monona. First proposed in 1938 as a convention center for the capital city, the project finally went forward in 1992 with the exterior designed by Wright and the interior based upon a design by Taliesin architect Tony Puttnam. Today, this beautiful space is home to conventions, private, and civic events, often thrilling people with its beauty and stunning views of the lake, skyline and the dome of the state capital.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Middleton near to the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Frank Lloyd Wright in Madison, Taliesin Estate
Middleton, WI
B,L,D
Fairfield Inn and Suites Madison West/Middleton

Activity note: Extensive walking with periods of standing at Taliesin Estate for up to 2 hours; uneven terrain. Driving approx. 40 miles to Spring Green; about 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet breakfast featuring hot and healthy choices like eggs, breakfast meats, oatmeal, fresh fruit and yogurt, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: This morning we will have an expert-led exploration of the Unitarian Meeting House, considered to be one of the world's most important examples of Church Architecture.. Our next stop will bring us to the Wyoming Valley School, the building (built in 1957) was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who donated his design and 2 acres of land to the School District in honor of his mother, Anna Lloyd-Jones Wright.

Lunch: At the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor's Center.

Afternoon: With a local expert, we’ll explore the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor’s Center and the 800 acre Taliesin Estate, which was Wright’s home for 48 years from 1911 until 1959. The estate features buildings that represent his work across his career as it served as a laboratory for architectural design and innovation. T We’ll then head back to our hotel for transfer to our farewell dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends including time to reflect on all that we have seen and learned about Frank Lloyd Wright on our adventure.

Evening: After returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Middleton, WI
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. We will provide a motor coach back to Chicago for drop off at the Hyatt Place River North.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: For the convenience of participants who wish to fly in and out of Chicago, or drive and park their cars for the entirety of the program, the motor coach will depart the hotel in Middleton at 9:00 am with a drop off at the Chicago airports before returning to the Hyatt Place River North in Chicago in the early afternoon. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.