While attending the 1950 World Federalist Conference at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL, George and Clifton Lewis asked Mr. Wright to design a home for them, saying they "have a lot of children and not much money." He agreed and instructed them to "Find your ground, not on a lot." After 12 months, the Lewises located a beautiful five acre parcel in Leon County on the outskirts of Tallahassee, with a natural spring that flows from the property to Lake Jackson.
Mr. Wright completed the plans in 1952, an unconventional passive solar "hemicycle" design. By December 1954, construction was completed and the Lewis family moved into their new home. The Lewises raised their four children in Spring House and received many prominent local, state, national, and international figures.
Spring House was placed on the National Register
of Historic Places February 14, 1979. George Lewis passed away in April
1996. Clifton and others formed the Spring House Institute, Inc., and charged
it with the tasks of preserving this historic property and bringing it into
beneficial public and private uses. The Lewis family moved out of Spring House
in 2011 for Spring House Institute to be able to use the house as we
Clifton passed away in February 2014, but before she died, she first had the
exciting and gratifying experience of seeing how many people were contributing
towards her and George's dreams for Spring House to be realized. Spring House Institute hopes with the help of the public, to acquire, restore and complete the only private residence
designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Florida and built in his lifetime, and transform it from the Lewises personal home to a public legacy.
By the end of October 2014, Spring House Institute, Inc. hopes to raise $256,250.00 to match a State of Florida Special Category Acquisition Grant to acquire Spring House for future restoration and completion, as Mr. Wright designed the Lewis home.
Spring House will be used as a public venue for classes, community meetings, weddings, graduation parties, limited overnight stays, and as the home of Spring House Institute, a teaching institute. The house is, and will be even more when it is restored, a great public asset. People are traveling from other states to visit Spring House, as little known as it is at this time! They are becoming Friends Of Spring House from all over the country! It is a hidden gem in the woods waiting for its proper place in Mr. Wright's legacy. It is not just a Frank Lloyd Wright house, it is a very rare Frank Lloyd Wright house, an example of his last stage of design, a hemicycle, he called them. There are only 12 or 13 hemicycles in the world. The one most like Spring House was built a year later that he designed for his son Llewellyn Wright.
What We Need & What You Get
We must raise matching funds for a special category grant from the Division of Historical Resources to acquire the house. The purchase price is $512,500. We need to match $256,250 in donations and pledges. As of mid August, Spring House Institute has collected more than $96,000, leaving less than $161,000 to raise by October 15, 2014. So we are asking for your help to save this precious jewel. Not just for what Spring House was and is … but for what it can and will become for our community!
Now is the time to realize a dream for Tallahassee: that Florida’s only Frank Lloyd Wright designed private residence built in his lifetime, be acquired and managed by Spring House Institute (SHI). This not-for-profit §501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization was founded by Clifton Lewis, the visionary woman who commissioned a rare gem from America’s greatest architect.
Listed are some key areas money raised after acquisition of Spring House will help restore:
-Repoint the blocks and restore/repair any damaged ones
-Fix any roof leaks
-Repair the plaster ceiling finish
-Replace the double glass doors
-Refinishing all cypress inside and outside
-Many other important tasks
Clifton and George Lewis II promoted cultural and civic life in Tallahassee in countless ways, and many of their dreams came true! Clifton and others started the Junior Museum with a tiny collection in one room. It grew to the present 52-acre Tallahassee Museum. Clifton was also a founder of LeMoyne Center for Visual Arts, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Although both George and Clifton were descended from early settlers in North Florida, they were active supporters of the Tallahassee civil rights movement. Clifton drove passengers during the bus boycott. President Kennedy appointed George as chairman of the Florida Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission.
Spring House Institute intends to acquire the house; restore it; and host classes, musical events, poetry readings, community meetings, seminars, and other activities associated with the arts, the environment, world peace, and social justice.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you cannot contribute financially please share this with everyone you know and pass the word along wherever you go so we can save this masterpiece!
We also offer tours every second Sunday and upon request. Please visit our website, PreserveSpringHouse.org for more information about the Spring House.
Thank you to all of you for helping anyway you can!!
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Registration#: CH31369
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.