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Lake Geneva Hotel, Lake Geneva, WI (1911) (S.171)
The Hotel Geneva Decorative “Light Pole” & The Darwin D. Martin “Birdhouse” (S.100) (1904)

One of the small details of the Martin complex is the “Birdhouse” Wright designed. Although this Hotel Geneva element is not a “Birdhouse”, the design is very similar. It is most likely to constructed of wood and leaded glass. Early images show the vertical pole to be 4.5 to 5 times the height of the decorative “light pole” base. Original aerial view drawing shows the decorative “Light Pole” setting on a much larger pedestal. It also showed a vase

   setting on a pedestal at each corner of the Lobby. The “globe” light fixtures do not exist in earlier images. The decorative “light pole” base was built into the vase pedestal. It may have been a decorative light fixture to light the stairs at night. These images of the Hotel Geneva are from a Real Photo Post Card Published by L. L. Cook Co., Milwaukee and a photograph by Lynn Anderson from No Rooms Available.
1: Darwin D. Martin “Birdhouse” designed in 1904.
2: Real photo post card of the Hotel Geneva (circa 1940's), published by L. L. Cook Co., Milwaukee.
2a: Detail of the West vase and decorative “Light pole” base. It is most likely constructed of wood and leaded glass.
2b: Detail of the West decorative “Light pole” base which was built into the vase pedestal.
Original aerial view drawing drawing. "Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph 1887-1901", Vol. 1.
2c: Detail of the East decorative “Light pole” base.
2d: Detail Lobby windows and trellis. Trellis very close to original drawing.
2e: It appears that neon lighting has been added to the lettering.
3a: The hotel in the late 1950s still boasted lush grounds and gardens surrounded its front driveway. Some architects consider it the prototype of the modern motel. Photograph by Lynn Anderson. (Note: Al Hermansen’s new 1956 Buick Special convertible is pictured in this photograph.)  From “No Rooms Available”.
3b: Detail: I had the opportunity to speak with Al Hermansen, and he confirmed that the decorative “Light Pole” did indeed contains lights. “We had a heck of a time changing the lights inside the base.”  From “No Rooms Available”.
Text by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2008


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