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Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Charles S. Ross House, 1902


During the early portion of his career, Frank Lloyd Wright designed and oversaw the construction of five homes in the Lake Delavan, Wisconsin area; which was a popular summer retreat at the time for Chicago residents.

The five homes located at Lake Delavan include the Henry Wallis summer home, the A. P. Johnson house (of Johnson & Johnson fame,) the Fred B. Jones home (also known as Penwern,) the George W. Spencer house, which Wright would “disown,” and of course, the Charles S. Ross house.


Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Charles S. Ross House in Lake Delavan, Wisconsin

The Charles S. Ross house is described by historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock as being among the finest examples of Wright’s “forest” variations of the Prairie style, as he listed it on his list of outstanding Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

Like many of the other Prairie style homes, built not only in the Lake Delavan area but also in other states (including in nearby Chicago,) the Ross home features a hipped roof with overhanging eaves. However, those who examine recent photographs will notice that it is clear that the home does not feature the art glass windows but rather has double hung windows; which many are aware that Wright absolutely hated—he once described double hung windows as being similar to a guillotine.

The interior of the Ross home is identical in layout (floor plan) to the cruciform plan that would be used on the future Francis W. Little house II, that would be constructed in Minnesota. It features four bedrooms as well as two fireplaces. However, as with many of the homes, the Charles S. Ross has been altered over the years.

The Charles S. Ross House Today

Like the other homes in the Lake Delavan, Wisconsin area; the Charles S Ross home has remained a private home since it was constructed over 100 years ago in 1902. However, though it is a private residence, the owners have previously opened up their home to the public for a ticket-only tour run by the Wright in Wisconsin organization. Most recently, the home was open to the public in 2007.

Though the home has been open to the public in the past, it is still a private residence. Any future guests to the home should keep this in mind and avoid trespassing. It is important to always be respectful of the privacy of the home’s current and future owners.