May 8 - Bear Run, PA: Frank Lloyd Wright's " Fallingwater"

I got up early this morning and took a hot shower, cooked breakfast, and packed up camp at Ohiopyle. It is a big state park with lots of activities and things to do. The Youghiogheny River runs right through it, or I guess the park was built around the river. There are a lot of kayaks and canoes on the river, it's a great place to fish too. We actually came here on a Boy Scout trip when I was a kid. It was a fishing trip. It ended up raining most of the time, we went to see Fallingwater in an effort to stay out of the rain, what a place to stay dry in! I was probably 14 or so. I was looking forward to returning.

Fallingwater was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh. They used to like to have picnics on the weekends near this one particular waterfall and asked FLW to design a house for the site. The house he designed actually straddles the stream and hangs over the waterfall.Vincent Scully of Yale University says, "Fallingwater has always been rightly considered one of the complete masterpieces of twentieth-century art," and you can walk on it!

I arrived at about 9:00 Monday morning. The parking lot was empty except for a few cars belonging to the people who work their. They had special parking for me, I was flattered. There is a brief nature walk back to the house site, you hear the stream and waterfall before you ever see the house and then, all of a sudden it grows out of the rock right in front of you. It looks very natural where it is. supports are anchored into the stone on the hill, the stone in the house is all local, the series of cantilevered balconies are poured concrete. I have visited a number of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings, there are a lot of them in and around Chicago, they all share Wright's attention to detail, it's amazing.

At Fallingwater he incorporated a stairway from the house down to the stream, the open steps actually terminate in the stream itself. It was built so the Kaufmann children could dangle there feet in the water from the steps under the house. You can look down from the upper deck on those steps through a semicircle in the deck. It is nothing that you can get a feel for simply by seeing a few pictures. It really is something that must be experienced. They give tours of the house everyday except Mondays, so I didn't get to go inside. I had toured it before so just being the only person on the grounds was good enough. If you are ever in Pittsburgh or close by you should make every effort to see this place.

After Fallingwater I took off South through West Virginia to pick up Route 50, the road that would take me West to a state park near Athens, OH and eventually on to Cincinnati. I stopped in the hills of West Virginia for lunch at "Biggie's". It was a little diner like place on the side of the road. Once again, I was the only stranger in the place, the only foreign car in the parking lot. There were a few tables full of old guys talking and joking around having lunch. I had a burger and fries and root beer and got back on the road.


River falls.


The Youghiogheny.

Bus Parking Only at Fallingwater.

Keep scrolling for more pics...

 
 
The house from downstream.

Steps to the water.

Look through.

Anchored supports for cantilevered balconies.

A toilet at the 'Fallingwater' visitor's center that Frank himself would be proud of.

Lunch at Biggie's.

Late afternoon at the "Pump Room".
 
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