"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kentuck Knob: A Lesser-Known Frank Lloyd Wright Home

While at Fallingwater, we discovered that another of Frank Lloyd Wright's creations, Kentuck Knob was nearby in the outdoor adventure town of Ohiopyle, so we visited it too. It has some of the same features as Fallingwater, such as the carport, and primarily horizontal emphasis in the roof lines and stone work, as well as one view of the house with a vertical upward thrust.   

After a little bus ride up a wooded hill, the walking tour of the inside of the house begins in the driveway, between the carport and the front door.  This is the view of the house from under the carport. You can see how low the carport ceiling is. Remember FLW's perfect human's height of 5'8"?

Throughout the house there are details reminiscent of the dentals on colonial home architecture. The cutout designs tucked under the eaves on the right side of this picture are the signature geometric shapes of Kentuck Knob. They are the same as the shapes of the rooms of the house.

Here's the view of the carport from the front porch.

Kentuck Knob is one of FLW's "Usonian" homes, which were intended to be smaller homes for middle income folks and were of a design that he felt reflected the new architecture of the United States.  They were built mostly later in his career, and by that time he had developed this method of signing his homes - the authentic Frank Lloyd Wright signature tile:

Again, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but I did get this one of the dining room through the open deck door.  The interior was also designed by FLW, as he liked to give the complete package. Much of the furniture is built in and other than the living room, the rooms are very small. The passageways are really tight. It reminded us a lot of living in an RV, but chock full of great art work. 

After the tour, guests are free to wander about the outside, explore the grounds and take pictures.

These view shows the side with the vertical thrust, 
and it reminded me of the ship prow effect of the Robie House in Chicago. 

Like Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob is built into the surrounding rock to some extent, 
and FLW incorporates that in several places.

At one time, Kentuck Knob had a 360 degree view, but the original owners wanted to live in a forest, so they planted thousands of trees, which have now grown up and surrounded it almost completely. There is currently one view left.

The current owners of Kentuck Knob,  Lord and Lady Palumbo Of Great Britain, have turned the surrounding acres into a large contemporary sculpture garden.  Here are a few of the sculptures.

The original owners of Kentuck Knob, the Hagans, (of the local Hagans ice cream) were big time dairy farmers in the area. The Visitor's Center, where we ended our walk through the sculpture garden, serves Hagans ice cream. Guess what we did to restore our energy.

BTW, we are no longer in PA, but have moved on to Kentucky, where we are trying to catch up a bit and rest a bit more.  It seems like we have been traveling too fast for too long. Who knows what I'll post next or where we'll be by then! Thanks for hanging in there with us.


  1. Your photo of the open deck door and other doors is outstanding!! Thank you for sharing. I am adding Kentucky Knob to my "must see" list.

  2. Your photo of the dining room through the open deck door is outstanding!! Thank you for sharing. I am adding Kentucky Knob to my "must see" list.

  3. Thanks Steve. That part of the country is so beautiful. Pastoral really. What a great place to build a home.

  4. I grew up in the area, never knew about Kentucky Knob, thanks for the introduction. a question: in photo #12, what are the lines on the stones, particularly the lower ones? could those be natural sedimentary planes?(Goldsworthy? Dan Snow?)

    1. Welcome Tomas! Glad we turned you on to Kentucky Knob. I've not a clue about what those striations are. What do you think? You'll have to go take a look up close!


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