"75 Years of Fallingwater"

Message from the President

Thomas D. Saunders

In 1936 — 75 years ago this year — Frank Lloyd Wright built Fallingwater. In 1963, Edgar Kaufmann jr. entrusted this iconic modernist house to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Ralph H. Demmler, spokesman for Trustees of the Foundation at Dedication of Fallingwater, said of Edgar Kaufmann jr’s gift:

Behind it lies Edgar Kaufmann, jr.’s unselfish recognition that this home, which he loves, should be conserved for the development of architecture and for the spiritual and cultural advancement of people. Behind it lies, fortunately, the existence of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and its demonstrated ability to carry out the task of administering this conservation project so that the purposes of the gift will be fulfilled.

Pennsylvania Governor William Warren Scranton and 400 civic leaders attended the dedication. President John F. Kennedy sent a telegram that read:

The vigor of Wright’s architecture and the richness of Fallingwater’s spectacular natural setting combine to form a distinctive public legacy. The nation and especially the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania owe the Kaufmanns a debt of deep gratitude.

James M. Driscoll, President of the Fayette County Development Council, said at the time, “It is not a figment of imagination to say that 20,000 or more persons will visit Fallingwater annually. This will be the greatest single attraction in all of Laurel Highlands.”

Fallingwater now has been under Conservancy stewardship and open to the public for 48 years — nearly twice as long as it had been the Kaufmann family’s weekend home. Visitation in 2010 exceeded 160,000. The Conservancy has carefully preserved the house and expanded Bear Run Nature Reserve around Fallingwater from the 1,400 acres donated by Edgar Kaufmann jr. to more than 5,100 acres today. Fallingwater’s educational programs enable students, teachers, artists, architects and others to draw wisdom and fresh insights from Fallingwater about the relationships among people, design, and the natural world.

The Conservancy is fortunate to own Fallingwater, and we take pleasure in preserving it and sharing it with others. As the Conservancy works to preserve the best of our resources in many different parts of Western Pennsylvania, Fallingwater and the Bear Run Reserve stand out as a gem among gems. We hope you will enjoy this issue of Conserve, dedicated to Fallingwater and its 75th anniversary.

Thomas D. Saunders
Thomas Saunders
President and CEO

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 2011 Members’ Day & Annual Meeting

WPC's annual Member's Day is a great opportunity to learn more about our organization with like-minded members. You can even register online!