FARGO - A historic home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's granddaughter has been spared for about a year after city officials decided to push back the construction schedule of a levee that would require its demolition.
With the owners of some houses on South River Road unwilling to sell, the city won't be able to acquire the properties in time for construction in 2017, City Engineer April Walker said on Friday, Feb. 10. Appraisals alone would take months.
"I'm delighted - we're all delighted," said John Stern, owner of the house. "We'll take what we can get."
He said he felt the city Historic Preservation Commission's determination that the house is historically significant was helpful.
The house at 1458 S. River Road was designed and built by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham and her husband, Gordon Ingraham. Both studied under Wright Ingraham's famous grandfather. The commission considered the house to be an outstanding example of the midcentury Prairie Style developed by Wright and has an outstanding relationship to the landscape.
City staff, including Walker, has said a levee is needed along River Road to protect the nearby water treatment plant and homes from flooding. Because of the weight of an earthen levee, it has to be built farther away from the river bank, which means homes along the river must be demolished to make way. A floodwall, which is lighter, would be too expensive.
Stern said he plans to submit an application to get his home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though there might be many Wright-derived homes like his around the country - he is not sure how many - his is only one in the region and that makes it worth saving, he said.
The year's delay could buy him the time he needs, Stern said.
In the meantime, Walker said the city would pursue other flood-control projects.