A rare Frank Lloyd Wright building in Montana, designed in the later years of his life, is in danger of being demolished.
This later-period Wright work in the town of Whitefish was designed in 1958 and completed after the noted architect passed away in 1959. One of his final projects, the brick and cast-concrete office featured a massive brick fireplace, double clerestory windows, and 64-foot-long wall of floor-to-ceiling glass. Supposedly, according to a story in the Daily Inter Lake, the doctors who first used the office received an extremely high bid when they put out a request for architects, and decided that if it was going to cost that much, they might as well hire Frank Lloyd Wright.
While some of the original features have been removed, subsequent additions have altered the building, and the landscaping Wright planned for the surrounding grounds has, in part, been turned into a parking lot, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
Local developer Mick Ruis plans to tear down the structure to make way for a three-story commercial development, including retail space, offices, and four residential units on the top floor. According to an article in the Flathead Beacon, Ruis was granted preliminary approval by the Whitefish Architectural Review Committee earlier this fall. The city committee will meet on Dec. 6 to decide whether or not to grant formal approval and a building permit.
This structure is one of three Wright buildings in Montana, including the Como Orchards Cottage, which is available for rent.