Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture find Fallingwater the mecca of innovation, design and ahead of its time.
The Kaufmann family built a fortune from their retail niche of department stores in Pittsburgh. The family contracted Frank Lloyd Wright to build a retreat house in the mountains, about one hour away from downtown Pittsburgh. With freedom and great creativity, Wright designed a house that becomes part of the environment, jutting out of a mountain with spectacular waterfall coming out of the bottom of this historic house.
During the dedication ceremony in 1963 by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr, he summed up the beauty of the house he grew up, “Fallingwater was created by Frank Lloyd Wright as a declaration that in nature man finds his spiritual as well as his physical energies, that a harmonious response to nature yields the poetry and joy that nourish human living.”
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature.
Known locally as the Kaufmann house during the early years, it contained souvenirs and collections from their travels around the world. The docent staff share personal stories of the family, their idiosyncrasies, habits and daily life at Fallingwater. Each object and decor style has a story behind it, whether it is Ms. Kaufmann defying Wright’s decorating style or the numerous famous guests from the entertainment, politics or foreign dignitaries, who made their mark within the historic house.
Other decorating styles include how the house is air conditioned through its most natural form in some of the key bedrooms and living room spaces. An area showcased the creek flowing underneath the house.
The tour, opened to the public, last about one hour. With inquisitive guests, the tour can become longer. No places are available to sit down so be prepared for standing around. Also, a toilet is not available for the public either. In-depth tours are available, starting at prices of $72 and up. Depending on level of interest, these tours are great opportunities for individualized attention.
At the minimum, spend at least four hours. It takes 1.5 hours to drive from downtown Pittsburgh during the spring, summer and fall months. During winter, the house is closed to the public.
Check the website for price changes. If secured ahead of time, it cost about $25 per adult person. If bought on site, it will cost $27 and there is no guarantee a space may be available for a tour.
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) WaterLandLife.org
Tour information: (724) 329-8501
1491 Mill Run Road
Mill Run, PA 15464
Tip #1: If you have time to explore and want to learn more about the architectural wonders of Fallingwater, additional tours are available with extensive time spent with the volunteer docents.
Tip #2: Ask your docent for the photographic spot of the front of Fallingwater’s beautiful, majestic waterfall. It might require you to take a hike a few steps away so wear comfortable footwear.
Tip #3: Photography is not allowed inside the home or during the tours. So head over to the gift store and pick up postcards, posters and books that showcase the interior of the house.