One of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces is in a historical neighborhood in Wichita, Kansas, and is open to the public through regularly offered tours, special events or for private tours scheduled in advance.
Wright is said to have called the living room in the Allen House, completed in 1918 in Wichita’s College Hill district, one of his best, and experts agree. Architectural writers who have visited go as far as calling it “one of the great rooms of the 20th century.”
Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House Museum and Study Center showcases Wright’s prairie style, which emphasized horizontal lines, earth tones and a continuous blending of interiors and exteriors. USA Today has named it one of the top 10 Wright home tours due to its restored condition and the amount of original furnishings, which continues to expand.
The home features more than 30 pieces of original furniture designed by Wright and an even larger collection of the Allens’ art and personal furnishings, including items donated to the museum by the great grandchildren of Henry and Elsie Allen.
Henry Allen was a newspaper publisher who went on to become governor of Kansas and a U.S. senator, and Elsie Allen worked as the education director for what is now Mark Arts regional arts hub. The Allens lived in the house for nearly 30 years, then two other private owners lived there. In 1990, the museum foundation acquired the property and began a process to restore it to the 1918-1923 timeframe.
Wright designed on paper roughly 1,000 structures, including offices, skyscrapers, schools, museums, churches and hotels. About 500 of his designs were built; 400 remain standing, including roughly 60 that are open to the public.
The historic home has implemented safety measures related to the pandemic and continues to offer guided walks through the house Wednesday through Saturday of most weeks. These precautions include smaller tour sizes, masks for unvaccinated visitors and encouraging distancing. You can secure one of the eight spots available on each public tour by visiting flwrightwichita.org.
Choose from a grand tour, which costs $40 per person and typically starts at 10 a.m., or a standard tour, costing $22 per person and starting at 11:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. There are also moonlight tours, $22 per person, at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.
Allow up to three hours for the more detailed grand tour, 90 minutes for a standard tour. The main difference between the two is that the longer tour allows you to hear more anecdotes from the well-informed docents and get a deeper interpretation of the house details and the relationship between Wright and his architecture. The longer tour also takes you into the garden house, which showcases items designed by Wright throughout his lifetime. Interior photography is only allowed on the grand tour.
Private tours also are available on the days the house is normally open. These are $22 per person and are available for up to eight members of the same household. Call 316-687-1027 to schedule.
Watch for special events throughout the year, from the annual FLW birthday celebration in June and Elsie Allen Tea on the Terrace in September to seeing the home decorated for the holidays from early November through December, plus a one-day Holiday Wright Style event.
Don’t miss the chance to see a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright in Wichita. The Allen House is the only FLW house open to the public in Kansas, making it a must-see for history buffs or anyone interested in design.
For more historic experiences in the heart of the country, check out the wide variety of museums in Wichita.