A Frank Lloyd Wright Building In Montana Is About To Be Demolished

published Jan 9, 2018
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(Image credit: Brenda Ahern)

Frank Lloyd Wright fanatics everywhere are undoubtedly hoping a buyer who has an appreciation for the famed architect’s expansive legacy – along with a cool nest egg stashed away – will step in and save one of just three FLW structures in Montana from demolition.

As Curbed reports, The Lockridge Medical Center in White Fish, Montana will meet a most unpleasant fate unless someone pays the $1.7 million asking price in cash to take it off the hands of the current owner Mick Ruis by Wednesday, January 10.

Designed in 1958 and posthumously completed in 1959, the late-period brick and cast concrete building was added to was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. A set of professional offices once operated on the premises, but demolition prep began last week, prompting a public outcry from an FLW preservation group that wasn’t expecting the process to start until the end of the year.

“This comes as a great shock to us,” said Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy executive director Barbara Gordon. “Fruitful discussions were still taking place to bring about a successful resolution to this case, which the Conservancy and our local partners have been working on for more than a year.”

(Image credit: Adam Jeselnick)

Apparently, Ruis was unaware of the architectural significance of the structure and had made plans to erect a commercial-residential project in its place, but subsequently agreed to sell the FLW-designed property to the first buyer.

Meanwhile, the Conservancy continues to work to keep the building from becoming the next of Wright’s properties to be demolished.

“This is a viable building in a beautiful Montana resort town with heavy tourism only 25 miles from Glacier National Park,” Gordon said. “By all appearances, without the possibility of a cash buyer coming forward to rescue this building at the 11th hour, a complete loss is inevitable. This looming loss really highlights the fact that Wright-designed buildings without legal protections are at constant risk.”

While the situation is certainly dire, there’s still hope that the Conservancy’s efforts will pay off. Earlier this year, a builder in Phoenix saved a Wright house from demolition at the last minute and donated it to a local architecture school.