On a Cursed House

Frank stood in the ashes of his house in Wisconsin. He couldn’t believe his misfortune. His home had burned down because of faulty electrical wiring, specifically (and somewhat, oddly) a poorly installed telephone line. All that remained of the house was the foundation and the chimney. Lost in the fire was also a large collection of art he had gathered over years of travel, specifically Asian art he’d gathered in years of work in that part of the world.

Frank and some neighbors and other helpers had tried to fight the blaze themselves. The house, a large affair, was some ways out of town and, in 1925, there was no nearby volunteer fire department to possibly put out the fire. By the time any firetrucks arrived from the nearby town, it was too late. The little group of neighbors and workers and friends had tried to fight the fire with buckets of water and garden hoses, but it was obvious that the place would be completely consumed. The weather didn’t help their cause. A strong wind blew across the Wisconsin plain and helped to spread the blaze beyond the group’s ability to fight it. All they do was watch helplessly as the flames quickly ate the building.

Because he was so desperate to put out the fire, Frank’s shoes had practically melted on his feet. The soles of both feet were burned and blistered and would need medical care. His eyebrows were singed off. He loved this house, Frank did. He decided to build here because his mother’s family had emigrated to the area from Wales some time before. In many ways, the place was home to him, so he wanted a house there. So part of his past, part of his heart, went up in smoke along with the house.

However, it wasn’t the first house built on the site. A previous house there also burned. It was 1914, only 11 years earlier. That time, the house burned down because of arson. That time, luckily, Frank wasn’t there. He was on a business trip. It seems that a worker on the place, a handyman who had mental issues, had taken gasoline and set the house on fire. Oh, and before he did that, he took an ax and killed Frank’s girlfriend, her two children, and a few men who worked for Frank. No one ever found out why the handyman did this terrible thing. He drank acid soon after his dastardly deed, and he died soon after. The crime remains one of Wisconsin’s most heinous mass murders.

Some tried to convince Frank that the site was cursed, that it would not be wise to rebuild the house on the same site of the terrible murders and arson. But Frank didn’t listen. He rebuilt. And, here again, the house was in ashes. And, again, people told him to give up on the site, that it was not appropriate to rebuild there.

Frank ignored them again. In fact, as he commissioned a third build of the house, he ordered that some of the burned artifacts, some of the destroyed art, be incorporated into the walls and supports of the third incarnation of the house. You would think that his architect would object to this odd request, but, of course, Frank’s architect didn’t object.

That’s because, you see, the architect was Frank himself.

Frank Lloyd Wright.

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