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Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian (Built With Local Bricks and Red Tidewater Cypress) Asks $425K in Wisconsin

Thursday, August 20, 2020   /   by The Villages Home Search

Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian (Built With Local Bricks and Red Tidewater Cypress) Asks $425K in Wisconsin

Price: $425,000

Location: Wausau, Wisconsin

This small town of around 40,000 people is a two-hour drive north of Madison, Wisconsin, and about one and a half hours west of Green Bay. The Wisconsin River runs straight through Wausau and is its most important feature — a place to swim, fish, canoe, and kayak in the town’s white-water park. 1224 Highland Park Boulevard sits in the East Hill neighborhood, a mile northeast of the town’s historic river district and quaint lineup of Tudor Revival and Victorian Gothic storefronts. Despite the small-town feel, Wausau also boasts a few big-city amenities, like the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (just a few blocks from the house) and the 29-acre Monk Botanical Gardens located just to the north.


Specs: 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,462 square feet, 0.58 acres (an adjacent 0.34-acre lot is included in the sale)

There’s no shortage of Frank Lloyd Wright Usonians in the Midwest, but the Charles and Dorothy Manson House is one of the earliest examples of the style. Designed in 1938 and completed in 1941, the home features Wright trademarks like a long horizontal roof, windows with perforated panels, and clerestory lighting in the kitchen and hallways. The home’s red hue comes from red tidewater cypress used on both the exterior and interior in a board-and-batten design, mixed in with local red Ringle bricks. Wright pioneered radiant-heating systems in his designs, and originally the Manson home had radiant floors, too. But according to the current owners, that system failed around 40 years ago, and the house now features more modern baseboard heating. Other updates include a rubber-roofing system, a remodeled kitchen, and two restored fireplaces.


Notable feature: 30- and 60-degree angles

When Wright first developed his Usonian designs and theories on organic architecture, he favored right-angle corners and square shapes. In an effort to further unify the Manson House with its environment (the site’s topography slopes down from the street level to a wooded ravine), Wright experimented by adding 30- and 60-degree angles to the exterior walls and in the ceiling angles. This means that while the house doesn’t have the typical I- or L-shaped floor plan of other Usonians, it does hint at Wright’s future use of triangles, parallelograms, and even curves.


A living room with a built-in white couch, red cypress wood on the ceilings and walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows on one side.
The living room showcases red tidewater cypress on the ceiling and walls in a board-and-batten pattern and a corner window with perforated panels.


A brick fireplace with aspen logs in it stands across from a built-in couch and wood walls.
The living-room fireplace is the core of the Usonian house, and this version made of local red brick rises from the floor to the ceiling.


A long hallway has a storage bench with cushions on top and historic photos on the walls.
A 44-foot-long gallery leads from the grand living room to the foyer and features an original bench with storage.


A dining room table with six chairs and cushions sits next to the brick fireplace.
Sandwiched between an office workspace and the living room, the dining room sports lower ceilings that were designed to create a more intimate experience.


A bed sits on a red geometric rug in front of a brick wall and windows.
The master bedroom has a restored fireplace, ten-foot ceilings, and the same brick and red tidewater cypress used elsewhere in the home.



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