A Tallahassee Treasure: The Lewis Spring House
Lewis Spring House is the only private residence in the state of Florida designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1954, the home is on the National Register of Historic Places and tours are available by reservation. It is one of only two pod-shaped homes designedly the famed architect. Spring House is one of only 11 houses Wright designed in the hemicycle style, which is a curved or semicircular structure or arrangement. The home features curved walls and is built of Ocala block, a type of concrete block popular in mid-century Florida, with tidewater red cypress siding on the exterior and interior mezzanine.
The home was designed for George Lewis II, his wife, Clifton, and their four children. At the time, George was the president of Lewis State Bank which was the oldest bank in Florida. George Lewis gave the home the name "Spring House" as a nod to the natural spring on the property that flows to Lake Jackson.
The story goes that George and Clifton attended a reception in Lakeland in 1950 to honor of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Child of the Sun" buildings at Florida Southern College. Clifton approached Mr. Wright, saying, "Mr. Wright, we're the Lewises from Tallahassee. We have many children and not much money and we want you to do a home for us." Wright told them to "find their ground, not on a lot" and then, maybe, he could do something for them. A year later, the Lewises bought five acres a few miles north of Tallahassee. Wright used photographs and topographical maps to design the home and sent one of his Taliesin Fellows, Nils Schweizer, to supervise construction. The family moved into the home in 1954.
Today, the home shows its age and has suffered some dangle over the years. In 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation played the Spring House on it's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Places. The Spring House Institute (SHI) is a charitable organization that has been set up to preserve and restore the home. SHI hosts a monthly work day on the property. For more information, to volunteer, or to make a donation, visit the Spring House Institute website HERE.