Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The E. H. Pitkin Cottage; 1900

During the early portion of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career, eh produced several cottages around the Great Lakes area. The E. H. Pitkin cottage in Sapper Island (Desbarats,) Ontario, Canada; was one of the first cottages he ever produced. Unfortunately, the Pitkin cottage is not one of Wright’s more famous works; so very little is known about the home. Furthermore, there are very few photographs of the home and many publications choose to use one of Wright’s original architectural renderings rather than seeking out a photograph.

International Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Edward H. Pitkin Cottage on Sapper Island in Ontario, Canada

Edward H. Pitkin, a Chicago area business, was visiting the Sapper Island area during a summer cruise. William Allin Storrer, author of The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog; notes that Mr. Pitkin was likely expecting to find “a thriving colony of vacationers” but was sorely disappointed. However, while on his vacation, he took an additional side cruise and ended up finding the area and the piece of land on which he would commission Frank Lloyd Wright to build his future summer home on.

On September 12th, 1900; Edward Pitkin purchased the land for five dollars an acre, for a grand total of ninety dollars for 18 acres. Frank Lloyd Wright was his neighbor in Chicago and he would commission him to build the 1400 square foot cottage; which is now 110 years old.

Originally, the E. H. Pitkin cottage featured a loose adaptation of the Swiss chalet style of architecture. However, as with many of Wright’s designs, owners of the home throughout the years have made minor adjustments or huge alterations. Today, the Pitkin summer cottage is larger that what Wright had originally designed. William Allin Storrer adds that it is similar in appearance, “though not as elegant as,” to the Mrs. Thomas Gale cottages that would be later built in Whitehall, Michigan in 1909.

Early Wright Architecture: The E. H. Pitkin Cottage Today

According to Frank Dobrovnik of The Sault Star, the Edward H. Pitkin cottage is the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright structure still standing in the entire country of Canada.

Today, the Edward H. Pitkin summer cottage is still standing and still a private residency. However, due to it’s fairly remote location; visitation is rather limited. However, those who do manage to get to the islands to see the home should keep in mind that it is a private residence and it is important to avoid trespassing.