Built over a waterfall in southwestern Pennsylvania, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater appears to float among its surroundings. But weekend storms served as a reminder that the architectural landmark isn’t immune to the natural elements.
Heavy rain fell in the Mill Run area overnight Saturday, flooding Bear Run, the stream that runs below the property.
No damage incurred in the interior of the home; however, a log hit the corner of a wall securing the “Mother and Child” sculpture by artist Jacques Lipchitz, sending the artwork into the overflowing water.
Once the water level lowered on Saturday, crews safely recovered the sculpture and assessed it for damage.
Lynda Waggoner, vice president and director of Fallingwater, told Luxe the piece sustained only minor scratches not visible to the untrained eye.
The plunge pool adjacent to the home and multiple trees also sustained minor damage.
Past weather events have offered lessons in securing items on the property. In 1956, a flood hit the home when the Kaufmann family was in residence. The external stairs were suspended from the house, and the “Mother and Child” sculpture was thrown into the stream. The piece was damaged significantly, but the artist was able to repair it.
Now, the piece is attached to the wall with a chain, so that if it falls, it can be easily retrieved.
Waggoner said the property — operated by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — was able to accommodate all 1,000 tourists this past weekend, despite road closures and fallen trees on the way to the home.
“I imagine it was quite a frustrating day for our visitors,” she said.
Tours were delayed 30-45 minutes but are now running as scheduled.
As Carmen Bray, with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, put it: It’s back to business as usual.
For updates on the repairs at Fallingwater, keep up with their Facebook page.
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