A National Treasure Right Here at Home

When you live here in western Pennsylvania, it’s easy to forget what we have in this area. Every day you have the opportunity to visit sights and locations that are world-renowned, just miles away from where we live. At the same time, because they are so close, it’s easy to say to one’s self I will get there someday.

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No, it’s not Brad and Angelina. Just Sharon and I at Fallingwater

For me, someday was this weekend. During the Christmas weekend, Sharon and myself decided to get away for the weekend and spend it in the rural setting of Farmington in Fayette County. The region is known for being home to the luxurious Nemacolin Woodlands, but it’s also known for an historic piece of architecture: Fallingwater.

For those of you not into the whole world of architecture ( and that includes me ), Fallingwater in the masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was supposed to be a getaway for the Kaufmann family ( owners of Kaufmann’s Department Stores ) during the time of the Great Depression. What he built was done on time … and way over-budget … but it has become celebrated world-wide.

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It’s a house with a theme: hallways shaped in a such a way that they force you into new directions. It uses window and steel to create natural light and never disturbs the natural surrounding into which the house is built. Its green living at its finest at a time decades before the green movement began in this country.

What amazed me more than the house were the people that were there to see it. As Sharon and I approached the welcoming center through the parking lot, we were hard pressed to find a Pennsylvania license plate. There were cars from New York, Georgia Florida and California … and all these people were not staying at the nearby Nemacolin resort. They were from everywhere, there to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature piece for themselves.

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The tour guide told us the rich and famous have also come over the years to see Fallingwater – including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Not that we could feel that Hollywood glow as we walked from room to room, but we did feel an immense source of pride. After all, this national treasure was in our backyard. Upon leaving, and at the urging of our guide, we decided to join the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The organization is entrusted with keeping the natural treasures in shape and from being destroyed. As residents here, we feel a duty to help in that effort.

If you haven’t I hope you will take the time to visit Fallingwater. It’s well worth it.

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