“Roaring” is a fitting description of the 1920s, as well as the 1930s, in Wright’s life and career and world history. These decades began with the survival of the recently completed Imperial Hotel during an earthquake that devastated much of Tokyo. Wright went on to demonstrate his ability to evolve and innovate by developing concrete textile blocks, starting the Taliesin Fellowship, shaking Fallingwater out of his sleeve to achieve world-wide acclaim, dreaming up lily pad columns for the Johnson Wax Headquarters and creating the Usonian house concept. At the same time, the turmoil continued in his personal life with a divorce, a second marriage, second divorce and a third marriage, along with another fire at Taliesin.
Significant world events through the 1920s and 1930s included women gaining the right to vote in the U.S., advances in flight with Charles Lindberg’s and Amelia Earhart’s flights across the Atlantic, followed by Earhart’s tragic disappearance over the Pacific, the stock market crash and Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt elected and re-elected President, Hitler rising to power in Germany and the start of World War II.
By Ken Simpson