Nancy Horan’s book, Loving Frank, was published in 2007, and the staff at Taliesin near Spring Green, Wisconsin, started getting inquiries about specific spots mentioned in the book right away. Keiran Murphy, historic researcher for Taliesin Preservation, Inc., knew it was time to answer their questions with a specific Loving Frank tour.
“In 2008, Nancy Horan graciously offered to come to Taliesin and participate in a special, one-day tour, which we titled, ‘The Loving Frank tour,’” she said. “It included the guiding portion that was created and led by me. I brought people around the outside and tried to help them visualize what the area looked like from 1911 to 1914.”
The tour concluded in Taliesin’s Living Room with a book reading from author Horan, Murphy said. “Then, in 2009, the interest in the book was still so strong that – even though we did not have Ms. Horan – we thought we would offer it again.”
They enlisted the services of a professional actress, Margaret Ingraham and offered tours again in 2009 where Margaret did a reading from the book in the living room at Taliesin. “Interest was still so strong, that the next year, 2010, we decided to make the Loving Frank tour a part of our seasonal schedule,” she said.
The tour highlights include a stop in the Taliesin’s living room, seeing the outside of the kitchen, a walk past the Flower in the Crannied Wall statue, a trip to the cemetery and a short walk to the grave of Mamah Bothwick, Wright’s mistress who lived at the home.
Murphy’s research work is solely devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Estate in Wisconsin, and she enjoys the increase in interest because of the book. “First of all,” she said, “there’s no question that increased visibility and interest in Taliesin is a wonderful thing. Secondly, I’d say that those on the Loving Frank tour seem very open to Frank Lloyd Wright’s personality and ideas, like the connection between the geography of southwestern Wisconsin and that outside of Florence, Italy, for example.”
She often leads the Loving Frank tours and said she gets to be in the Taliesin living room while Ingraham reads from the book. “And it strikes me – every single time – that there is nothing like sitting in that beautiful living room and listening to her read some of those very perceptive passages from that book. It’s incredible. Nancy Horan has given a wonderful portrait of that home and that valley in the very early years.”