The end of the road for Frank Lloyd Wright building

Print Article

  • The Frank Lloyd Wright Building in Whitefish was torn down Wednesday night.

  • 1

    A red tile incorporated into the brickwork bears the signature of Frank Lloyd Wright. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

  • The Frank Lloyd Wright Building in Whitefish was torn down Wednesday night.

  • 1

    A red tile incorporated into the brickwork bears the signature of Frank Lloyd Wright. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

Demolition is expected to proceed on the Frank Lloyd Wright Building downtown after efforts to preserve the building failed.

Building owner Mick Ruis of Columbia Falls had set a deadline of Wednesday for a buyer to come up with $1.7 million to purchase the historic building.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy announced Wednesday afternoon that a deal could not be agreed upon and the demolition of the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places would likely move forward.

The Chicago-based conservancy was working with the Montana Preservation Alliance and a local business leader to hopes to come up with a deal that would save the building. It will be the first viable building designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright to be torn down in more than 40 years.

Plans to demolish the building and redevelop the commercial property on Central Avenue where the building is located first came forward in late 2016. Following public outcry over the plans, Ruis put the building up for sale for roughly a year.

Attorney Ryan Purdy, the legal counsel for Ruis, told the Pilot earlier this week that Ruis delayed his plans for the building despite his own expense to do so and had looked at avenues to work with potential buyers.

Last week Ruis set a deadline of Jan. 10 for a $1.7 million cash purchase of the building.

Asbestos abatement was ongoing in the building, then earlier this week two large trees were removed and a fence was installed around the property. Late Wednesday two excavators sat in the parking lot of the site.

The building was designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1958 as a medical clinic. Wright died in 1959 before the 5,000-square-foot building, which became the Lockridge Medical Clinic, was finished. First State Bank moved into the building in 1964 and it was divided into professional offices in 1980. Sharon Morrison and Sean Frampton purchased the building in 2002, but sold it in 2016.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 14, 2012. It is one of three remaining Wright buildings in Montana — the other two are cottages in the Bitterroot Valley that were part of Wright’s first planned community in 1909.

“This devastating situation underscores the vulnerability of all Wright-designed buildings that don’t have some form of legal protection,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, in a prepared release. “A lot of people think a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Lockridge Medical Clinic was, or a private house that isn’t protected by a preservation easement or local landmark designation, can’t be demolished, but that is not the case. Most preservation work happens on the local level. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy encourages concerned citizens to advocate for strong local preservation protections in their respective communities.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

The ghosts of a Nyack disaster and more tales in new Fraley book

October 10, 2018 at 8:18 am | Hungry Horse News On a cool, sunny October day, author John Fraley is digging a hole in Cork Hill’s pasture in Nyack. The pasture is along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. The hole is for a post and on top o...

Comments

Read More

Snow, ice, closes most of Glacier Park’s roads

October 10, 2018 at 8:33 am | Hungry Horse News Weather rules the roost in Glacier National Park. As such, the Park announced Tuesday it closed the alpine sections of Going-to-the-Sun Road for the winter. On the west side, the road remains open t...

Comments

Read More

Project to preserve timberland, meadows and lakes on Stillwater Forest completed

October 10, 2018 at 9:00 am | Hungry Horse News The Whitefish Lake Watershed Project that adds a total of 13,400 acres to the Stillwater State Forest through multi-phase conservation easements has been completed. The parcels were in the heart of ...

Comments

Read More

Congress could do end-around on griz ruling

October 10, 2018 at 8:29 am | Hungry Horse News Montana’s two senators have weighed in on a recent court ruling that placed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem back on the Endangered Species List. The ruling by U.S. District Court ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X