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Photographer: photographer unknown

Sutton House

Around 1900, jeweler and CB&Q Railroad Band director Harvey Sutton and his wife Eliza wanted to enlarge their home overlooking downtown McCook. Rather than take on an informal remodeling area, the Suttons decided to hire a young architect whose work was demonstrated in the widely read Ladies Home Journal in 1901. This was the first time many people had heard of Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and although many people read the article the Suttons were the only ones to commission Wright to design a home. Designed in 1905 and completed in 1908, the home came in the middle of Wright’s first golden age, that of the Prairie Home, and is the first in a series of his career’s heyday in that field. Although Mrs. Sutton repeatedly told Wright to be economical, the bid price of $5,000 was completed at double the amount and infuriated the Suttons. The home was not among the architect’s best, missing many of the details that later made Wright one the country’s most celebrated architects, but it did continue the overriding principles of those homes. In the Sutton home, one sees the flowing, interconnected spaces, the strong horizontal emphasis to emulate the plains, the low-pitched roofs and generous overhangs, and the horizontal strips of windows. Unfortunately, a 1932 fire caused considerable damage to the interior of the home and destroyed the original veranda roof. The local builders were unable to determine how the roof was attached to building and ultimately changed its location and proportions while adding large columns to support the extension. A subsequent owner, a physician, made substantial changes to the interior, cutting through oak floors, removing and covering doors, and adding walls. Later owners attempted to restore as much of the original plan as possible, retaining a Wright expert restoration architect. The home continues today as a private residence.

Constructed: 1908
Location: McCook, Nebraska