This year, the Conservancy remembers our founding 30 years ago with a look back at early issues of our newsletters.
June 1990 marked the first issue of our quarterly BULLETIN, the front cover of which announced “Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is Formed!” The issue includes Wright Site Reports that provide very interesting updates on building restorations, property transfers and historic districts.
The first BULLETIN includes, on page 6, a very timely article from Meg Klinkow, former owner of the Laura Gale House in Oak Park. Entitled “Be Your Own Historian” the article details how to keep good, chronological records of what you have done to your Wright house for posterity. She notes that well-cared-for records and photographs of a building will not only be valuable to future owners, preservationists and scholars, but to your own family as well. She outlines how to organize and store different types of records, artifacts, photographs, drawings and written documents. Proper record-keeping will not only assist future building stewards and historians, but is also helpful in adjusting the basis of your costs in your house for tax purposes when you sell.
While today there are wonderful ways to digitally scan and store your records for convenient access, it is important to keep in mind that in another thirty years the digital platforms we use today may change, rendering documents in their current format unreadable. For this reason, selecting key documents (particularly photos) to print out will help ensure that they will be available for the longer term. You may also want to consider storing documents off-site. Were your home to suffer a serious loss, off-site storage would allow you to access information that might otherwise be destroyed.
The Conservancy recommends that these principles are still a good practice. Her advice is evergreen and these simple, useful and manageable ideas might be a good project for those “sheltering in place”.
The very first Conservancy BULLETIN includes an article about preservation easements and their importance as the most effective legal tool for the protection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings. The article (on page 4) is written by Stefan Nagel, a founding Conservancy Board member and, at the time, the assistant general counsel of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Conservancy still recommends easements as the strongest form of protecting the investment that you have put in your Wright building against future demolition and insensitive alterations. Read the new easements page on our website, which includes current information about how to donate one to the Conservancy. Currently, the Conservancy holds and monitors 22 easements on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings around the country.
Posted on June 3, 2020