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Biographical Information and Mission Statement

Biographical Information and Mission Statement

The Henry J. Allen House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1915, was sold, September 20, 1990 by the Wichita State University Endowment Association to the Allen House Foundation.

The Allen House Foundation is named after the original owners of the house, Henry and Elsie Allen.

The purpose of the Foundation is to restore and conserve the house through its adaptive use as a house museum and study center, open to the public by appointment as designated by the City Commission of Wichita.

The Program Outline includes:

The residential structure at 255 N.Roosevelt, Wichita, Kansas was designed for the prominent Journalist and Statesman Henry J. Allen and his wife Elsie J. Nuzman Allen, who was active in local art organizations. The Allen’s were referred to Frank Lloyd Wright by their close friend William Allen White of Emporia, Kansas.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House and Study Center

The design ideas date from 1915 and the House was occupied in 1918. The Allens continued to live in the house until late 1947.

The House, that Frank Lloyd Wright considered “among my best”, is considered the last of the Prairie Houses. Stylistic exterior features includes a horizontal grey carthage marble “water table” as a transition design element between the prairie floor and the house, white raked horizontal brick joints and flush ocher head joints, red clay tile roof with emphasis on horizontal lines and a unique ridge, hip ridge and lower starting course with a Japanese flavor.

Interior features include the continuity if the exterior brick which is a blend of ocher and tan colors with all horizontal joints gilded gold. This detail was only used elsewhere at the Martin House in Buffalo, New York 104, and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo 1915-1923

The living and dining room wrap around a sunken garden with a large water garden filled with water lillies and Koi fish from Japan. The other two sides of the garden are defined by a garden house and wall capped by large concrete garden vases with oyster shell aggregate.

The quarry tile terrace extends into the living room and dining room with access from both rooms through glass doors to the terrace. This continuity of floor material along with the brick, plaster colors etc., establishes a strong indoor/outdoor design relationship.

Views to the exterior are through “light screens” which consist of clear glass doors and windows with terminal windows or side windows framing the views with art glass.

Exterior window flower boxes raise the prairie floor up to establish a strong visual relationship to nature.

Lighting is integrated into the environment with the living room ceiling lanterns in wood and mulberry paper or wood and art glass in the dining room.

Radiator grilles, built in furniture, bookcases and moveable furniture are all interrelated designs for a harmonious whole.

The furniture was a collaborative effort between Frank Lloyd Wright and George M. Niedecken who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright on 12 projects over a 15 year period, which included the Coonley House.

Robie House and the Meyer May House. Twenty-three pieces of original furniture are on long term loan from The Wichita State University Endowment Association. The balance of the furniture is owned by the Allen House Foundation.

Art work collected by Elsie Allen and donated to Baker University and The Wichita Center for The Arts is being loaned back with the collection rotated annually.

The first floor of the House contains a reception hall, powder room, dining room, living room, butler pantry, kitchen, maid’s room, kitchen bath and 2-car attached garage.

The second floor contains Mr. Allen’s Study, master bathroom, Elsie Allen’s boudoir, Miss Allen’s bedroom, maid’s room, guest room, 3 bathrooms and a circulation gallery overlooking the water garden which served for art displays in addition to room access.

The plan and its relationship to the garden predates elements of Usonian House Designs of the mid-thirties. The first project which was designed for Louise and Charles Hoult, Wichita, Kansas in 1936, but not built.

Historical Restoration Team

Howard W. Ellington
Restoration Architect

Wes Ellington
Facilities Manager

Eric J. Ellington
Construction Coordinator

Robert A. Furhoff
Historical Paint Consultant

Richard Hartwell
Structural Engineer Consultant

Poe Engineering
Site Survey

Historical Construction Team

Allen Millwork
Replication of Garage Doors
Replication of Interior/Exterior House Doors
Replication of Misc. Interior Millwork Items

D.L. Armstrong & Co.
Replication of Reception Hall Ceiling Light Fixture
Replication of Dining Room China Cabinet Light Fixtures
Replication of Historical Furnishings

Born Brothers, Inc.
Masonry

Conner Irrigation
Sprinkler System

Roger Dick, Construction
Carpentry

Eby Construction
Bog Pond Restoration

Wes Ellington
Historical Exterior/Interior Paintings
Replication of Historical Light Fixtures for Walls and Ceiling
Replication of Historical Hardware

First Service
HVAC / Plumbing

G&W Painting

Stripping & Re-staining Interior Wood

Hastings Pavement Co.
Parking Lot

Hemco
Plumbing/HVAC

Ludowici Tile Company
Original Manufacturer of Quarry Tile and Roof Tile
Replication of Floor and Roof Tile

Prime Electric
Electrical Service

Ritchie Paving
Site Work

Roof Techs
Roof Work

Smith and Sons
Plastering

Lee Snell Construction
Kitchen Carpentry

Snodgrass Construction
General Contractor

Tasco/Total Abatement System Company
Asbestos Removal

Thorton Electrical Systems
Electrical