The landmarks sparked a series of opinion pieces. The first, by Julia Kampelman Stevenson and Andrew Stevenson detailed their concerns historic preservation laws have been misused to constrain development and infringe upon the rights of private owners.
In her response, Jane Solomon, president of Forest Hills Neighborhood Alliance, provided the context and rationale for historic preservation. The alliance was created to protect historic buildings in the neighborhood. Its first project was the Owl’s Nest. (Forest Hills Connection is another project of FHNA.)
And in the third opinion piece, published this week, the Stevensons responded that private owners should have the final say.
While at differing sides of the preservation debate, each refer to Frank Lloyd Wright to buttress their points of view.
In response to the Stevensons’ first piece, Solomon asks, “If a Frank Lloyd Wright house were nominated as a landmark, should HPRB consider the owner’s plan to subdivide and build new houses or the neighbors’ worries about more cars in the neighborhood?”
Julia and Andy pick up on the reference to Frank Lloyd Wright and respond in their second piece: “Mr. Wright was arguably the most fiercely individualistic architect ever to practice in America; and our guess is he would have had no patience with historic preservation design review…”
Here is what we know for a fact: Several of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings have been destroyed, and some near destruction have been saved. Although many were demolished during his lifetime, Wright intervened personally to rescue only one of his buildings, the Robie House.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust was established in 1974 to preserve his buildings for posterity.
To address questions of historic preservation in our neighborhood, ANC 3F is forming an ad hoc committee. If you would like to join this committee, contact the chair, Malachy Nugent at [email protected].