Behind a woodland canopy of yew and birch and hemlock on an unassuming street in the hillside city of Manchester, New Hampshire lays a rare and hidden treasure that awaits your eminent arrival; the only private home in New England designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that is open to the public.
The former residence of Dr. Isadore and Mrs. Lucille Zimmerman built in 1950, the house is a quiet shrine to the architect’s cherished use of clean, uncluttered line, repeated scaled proportions, the empathetic integration of structure with topography and landscape, seem-less spatial segues and finely crafted natural materials; wood, glass, brick and clay.
A muted fugue of contemplative arrangements, Wright chose the carpets, approved upholstery, designed the furniture in every room, the mailbox and the gardens which fill the expanse of windows along the back of the house with thoughtful views of native flora, fern and shimmering stands of Japanese Hakonechola.
The prospect of returning here to see the property anew in all its springtime bloom and glory is one thought that can soften the sting of leaving this very special place. Sagging spirits can also be buoyed by the dreamy prospect of buying another of Wright’s self-named "Usonian" homes not open to the public but nonetheless located down the street and currently on the market for $1.3 million.
Less lofty and additional cheer of a more clamoring kind can be found back downtown inside the deliciously Deco Red Arrow Diner at 61 Lowell Street. A "Dinah’s Napkin Art" taped to a wall beside the kitchen will entertain the eye while the rest of you waits for nice big plates filled with country breakfast, "Griddle Greats" and "Stan the Man" specials.
Public access to the Zimmerman home is exclusively provided through the lively and informative docent-led tours coordinated by the close-by Currier Museum of Art who own and operate the historic property. Please see www.currier.org for scheduling information. Reservations are required.
Make the most of your Manchester day and tour the Currier’s stellar permanent collection along with galleries dedicated to the work of New England artists and excellent exhibits. Currently on view through January 6 is Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt. Pick up one of the thoughtfully provided magnifying glasses to examine and appreciate the virtuoso line work and range of textured tones showcased by this striking collection of seventeenth century dry-point, etching and engraving.
Zimmerman House images courtesy of Currier Museum of Art