Frank Lloyd Wright’s Only Restaurant Has Just Been Added to the National Register of Historic Places

Spring Green Restaurant at Riverview Terrace, a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed restaurant in Wisconsin, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. The structure joins other iconic Wright designs, such as Fallingwater, Taliesin, Unity Chapel, and the Guggenheim Museum, on the impressive list which chronicles the country’s “historic places worthy of preservation.”

Though the restaurant was just recognized nationally in February, the designation comes shortly after the design was placed on the Badger State’s own register of historic places in November 2023. “The recognition not only honors Wright’s legacy but helps preservation and education efforts,” Carrie Rodamaker, the executive director of Taliesin Preservation, which now owns the building, tells AD over email. “For visitors, dining at Riverview Terrace Café contributes to the cultivation of future culinary talents and keeps the Taliesin way of life thriving.”

Wright’s widow, Olgivanna, chose the furnishings and the decor of the restaurant.

Photo: Nathan Rist, courtesy of Taliesin Preservation

The architect served as his own client and bought the land, which overlooks Wisconsin River, with the intention of creating a restaurant for guests visiting Taliesin, his home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin. “In building the restaurant, Wright intended to convene the local and greater community—forming a gathering place and a place of education,” Rodamaker says. “His apprentices were to grow the food on the Taliesin property and learn to cook and serve the guests—both local people and visitors from around the world—as part of their holistic education.”

He designed a seasonal restaurant, which he called the Riverview Terrace, in 1953 but evolved his plans in 1954 to include a year-round eatery. Wright continued to develop his vision for the destination until 1957, when construction began. However, it was slow moving. The architect was working on a number of other designs, such as the Marin County Civic Center and Lockridge Medical Clinic, during the ensuing years and spent a lot of time away from his beloved Wisconsin and Taliesin. When Wright passed away in 1959, the restaurant, which was the only one he ever designed, was still incomplete.

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