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Day Trip: Home of Frank Lloyd Wright creation

Laurent House was built for accessibility

Published: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Nels Akerlund/Laurent House Museum)
The Laurent House is open to the public. Tours of the home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, start with a shuttle bus ride from Midway Village in Rockford.

ROCKFORD – Frank Lloyd Wright built a special home for Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent after World War II.

The home, now the Laurent House museum, was designed to be wheelchair accessible. Kenneth, who had spinal cord problems, was left paralyzed from the waist down after surgery. Phyllis read an article about Wright's work, which sounded like what they were looking for, and the rest is history.

The house was finished in 1952, after much patient waiting. The Laurents, now deceased, made it their home until early 2012.

The one-story building contains its original Wright-designed furniture. It has a solar semicircular footprint, carport, patio, and fish pond, and connects to the landscape around it. It was built with red tidewater cypress and Chicago common brick.

Tours of the Laurent House began in June and are scheduled for the first and last weekend of each month. A spot needs to be reserved in advance.

The group tours start from Midway Village Museum. From there, visitors go by shuttle bus to the home. No parking is available at the house for those touring. The exception is visitors with disabilities. Arrangements will be made for them to park at the site.

No interior photography is allowed, and no smoking will be permitted on the property.

While they're in the area, visitors going on the Laurent House tour might want to include a look at Midway Village. This museum is in the form of a Victorian village with shops, gardens, and interpreters in period clothing.

The main museum center features displays of Rockford area history. Other sights to see are the Amos W. Woodward Millhouse sitting on Severin Lake, the Old Dolls' House Museum of miniature homes with styles from all over the world, and an aviation display. And don't miss the sock monkey.

The museum has a variety of seasonal hours. The main center is open all year, but the village is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday through August and by appointment only September through April.

Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for children 3 to 17. Free admission days are offered. For information, visit midwayvillage.com or call 815-397-9112.

These Rockford locations make an ideal place to enjoy the final days of summer.

If you go

What: Laurent House

Where: Midway Village, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford

When: 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Aug. 30-31, Sept. 6-7, Sept. 27-28, Oct. 4-5, and Oct. 25-26; designed for those 8 and older

Cost: $15

Information: Visit laurenthouse.com to make reservations. For more information, contact info@laurenthouse.com or 815-877-2952

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