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John Bachman

William Storrer in his book "The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright" indentifies him as owner of the mills.

Greg Wilson

Can anyone verify who the gentleman is standing in the one picture? If you look at his posture (slight bend at the hips, and arms up with elbows pointing-out), and enlarge the picture, I would suggest it is FLW himself.

Think about it... look closely and compare it with other pictures of FLW in that time period.


I have a vivid memory of sitting on the top side of the concrete "umbrella" one summer evening in 1971. (Ah, youth.) By that point the observation deck was little used and behind a rusting chain link fence gate, the site overgrown with bushes. It seemed quite strange to us. The large empty mill building with hundreds of empty wooden spools scattered around was also an object of some interest to us. All that remains of the complex now is a small brick office building, which is now used as a park structure.

I was sad that all this was demolished when the dam was removed, and the river channel created to power the Island Woolen Mill disappeared. Yet I do agree, that allowing the Baraboo River to once again flow freely with no dams from the headwaters down the entire length was a very good result.


Hi Ron,
They don't appear to be dated and Carla Lind does make note that there is definitely a gap in the documentation of this design...but it seems accepted as a Wright design (it also has an "S" number...S143)

Perhaps if you contact the Sauk County Historical Society (who own the photos I posted)they might be able to provide more detailed information on their dates. Let us know what you find out!

Ron McCrea

Is there more documentation to the provenance than "it is believed" the designs were by Wright? I notice that FLLW does not include any mention of this design in his comprehensive list of projects from 1911-1914 compiled for the 1914 Chicago Art Institute show, and he is throwing everything in there that he can think of. Are the Sauk photos dated?


Thanks Ron, corrections made! Hopefully my typing/spelling gets better in 2013!

Ron McCrea

Wow, these are great! They must be from the Taliesin I period, and had I known about them I would have included some of them in my book, "Building Taliesin." The kinship to Midway Gardens is very clear and these have a very stark, German modernist look. I would not have wanted to risk descending those treacherous steps without a railing, however.

As to the comment above, I'm sure the writer meant "tenets" not "tenents," just as he meant "formerly" rather than "formally" found in Baraboo -- and just as Paul Ringstrom meant to include a verb in his comment about Taliesin West. Whatever our architectural preference may be, we live in glass houses when we type.

Paul Ringstrom

I am sorry to report that IMHO the current Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has shown that they nothing about "Organic Architectural tenants."

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