Continuing the hot streak that Barnsdall Park has been having since the opening of the completely restored Hollyhock House, a new project is getting underway that will restore another former residence on the park's property that's been closed for almost two decades.
Residence A, described in a release from Councilman Mitch O'Farrell as "the dilapidated and shuttered guesthouse for the historic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House," has been closed since 2000, when all of Barnsdall Park shuttered for tunneling for the Red Line. But the 1920s house was reportedly vandalized a few years back, and locals placed the blame squarely on an insufficient budget for the park that provided for only one full-time security guard to be hired.
The restoration of the approximately 2,600-square-foot house is estimated to cost about $3.2 million; so far, $1.9 million to get the project started are locked down. The house needs basically everything done on it; interior photos show that pain is peeling, wood is rotting, water damage is plentiful. Restoration of the rooms, plus seismic upgrades and roof repair are all planned.
Residence A is also sometimes called The Director's House, because it was originally planned to be housing for the director of the theater that oil heiress Aline Barnsdall (who commissioned the project) wanted to build on the site—part of a huge theater complex she imagined and hired Wright to build. But because of disagreements between Wright and Barnsdall centering mostly around financial issues, Wright was eventually fired. The complex as Barnsdall had envisioned it was never fully realized.