1 William C. Muchow & Associates, a firm
known for postmodern buildings throughout the region, designed the Alpine
Visitor Center in 1962. Just a year after the building was dedicated,
Muchow used Lyons sandstone and red tile roofs in his design for the Engineering
Sciences Center at University of Colorado, Boulder. See Thomas J. Noel,
Buildings of Colorado (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997),
2 Superintendent's Annual Report (Granville
B. Liles), July 1965, Rocky Mountain National Park (ROMO) library.
3 Lloyd K. Musselman, "Rocky Mountain National
Park Administrative History, 1915-1965," (National Park Service, Washington,
D.C., 1971), 210-211.
4 Mission 66 Prospectus, Final Draft, 1957,
Archaeologist's Files, Rocky Mountain National Park.
5 Mission 66 Prospectus, 1957.
6 "Developed AreasEast Side Interpretation,"
Master Plan Development Outline, March 1958, Technical Information Center
(TIC), Denver Service Center (DSC).
7 "Visitor Center, Grand Lake Entrance,"
April 9, 1958, 2 sheets, microfiche, TIC, DSC.
8 C. W. Buchholtz, Rocky Mountain National
Park, A History (Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press,
9 Four years later the chief ranger's office
was built nearby, and in 1956 a library building was moved to the site.
By 1960 the overcrowded administration facility could no longer satisfy
park needs, and some offices were moved to the utility area in Beaver
Meadows. "Park Headquarters to Move," press release, Rocky Mountain
National Park, September 21, 1966.
10 The WODC produced a "layout plan" for
the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station showing the High Drive approach
road. The drawing is dated August 4, 1958, and was approved by Superintendent
Lloyd in May 1959.
11 All drawings noted can be found on microfiche
in the Technical Information Center, Denver Service Center, Lakewood,
12 Copies of these two drawings are on
file at the William Wesley Peters Library, Taliesin West, Scottsdale,
Arizona. The drawing is referenced as "building-NP-RM-3609 2/63-Doty"
on drawing no. 3610 (March 1963), a site development plan for the administration
building and visitor center designed by James O'Shea. Doty's building
was located on the north side of the road across from the Beaver Meadows
13 Master Plan Development Outline, "narrative,"
May 1960 with revisions in April and July 1963 and May and December
1964, microfiche copy, TIC, DSC.
14 Peters and Casey visited the park on
June 3. See Superintendent's Monthly Report, June 1964, ROMO library.
15 Interview with Edmund Thomas Casey by
Tom Keohan, National Park Service historical architect, February 15,
1997. In an interview with the author on September 23, 1998, Casey said
that Udall wanted architects from his home state of Arizona for political
reasons, but the Secretary also had a personal interest in the architecture
of Frank Lloyd Wright. According to Washington Post critic Wolf
Von Eckardt, Udall was "beginning to extend what he calls the 'conservation
ethic' to the wastelands of our cities. He is just now skillfully trying
to save a small house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Falls Church,
Virginia, from the bulldozers. He has moved to declare Wright's famous
Robie House in Chicago a national [historic] landmark." See "The Park
Service Dares to Build Well," Washington Post (March 29, 1964).
16 Telephone interview with Richard Strait
by the author, April 5, 1999. Richard Strait graduated with a degree
in landscape architecture from Utah State in 1958 and became the resident
landscape architect at Rocky Mountain in 1962. He participated in the
site selection process for the visitor center at Beaver Meadows and
worked on the landscape plan for the Alpine Visitor Center. In 1965
Strait was transferred to the regional office in Omaha and replaced
by James O'Shea. Strait is now retired and living in Littleton, Colorado.
17 According to a recent guide to regional
architecture, the "building was designed for the north side of the road,
but a powerful park superintendent moved it to the south side, so visitors
enter at the rear and rarely see the original facade." Thomas Noel,
Buildings of Colorado (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997),
238. In fact, although Liles contributed to the building program, the
building was designed specifically for its present site. Tom Casey speculated
that the left turn off the main road may have contributed to the pervasive
myth of the reversed facade. Interview with Edmund Thomas Casey by the
author, October 23, 1998.
18 "New Park Visitor Center Will Be Located
Near Present NPS Utility Area," Estes Park Trail (September 4,
19 Kathryn Smith, Frank Lloyd Wright's
Taliesin and Taliesin West (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997).
20 Tobias S. Guggenheimer, A Taliesin
Legacy (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995), 102.
21 "Brief History of the School," Frank
Lloyd Wright School of Architecture 1997 Self-Study Report, Taliesin
West; William E. Mims, Interiors and Sources (September 1998).
22 William Wesley Peters (1912-1991) was
born in Terre Haute, Indiana, and joined the fellowship in 1932 at age
twenty. Considered a leader in the school, Peters devoted his life to
furthering Wrightian architecture as a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright
Foundation and chief architect of Taliesin Associated Architects. Edmund
Thomas Casey (b. 1924), a native of Los Angeles, California, attended
Pasadena Jr. College before joining the armed services. Five years later,
he attended the University of California at Berkeley under the G.I.
bill, and graduated with a B. A. in architecture in 1950. A month later,
Casey joined Taliesin Fellowship, also under the G.I. bill. Curtis Besinger,
Working with Mr. Wright, What it Was Like (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1995); interview with Edmund Thomas Casey by the author,
September 23, 1998.
23 "NPS Building Architectural Sidelights,"
Estes Park Trail (November 18, 1966); Pasquale Marranzino, "Early
Wright Design," Rocky Mountain News (June 1, 1965), 53; "Park
Headquarters Building Owes Its Design to Pioneering Heritage of Frank
Lloyd Wright," Estes Park Trail (May 26, 1972).
24 "Beautiful New Hotel for Horse Shoe
Park," The Mountaineer (Estes Park), Vol. 1, (June 4, 1908),
25 Wright described the Horseshoe Inn in
his Wasmuth portfolio. The monograph on his work of this period includes
a photograph of the sketch and further assurance that the building was
never constructed. See Yukio Futagawa, ed. Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph,
1907-1913 (Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita, 1987), 164.
26 Interview with Casey by Tom Keohan.
27 By this time, the Park Service also
had a tradition of separating visitor and administrative areas by housing
offices in a two-story wing entered from a parking lot behind the visitor
center. Cecil Doty used this design at Zion National Park (1957-1960)
and Colorado National Monument (1960-1963).
28 Suzette A. Lucas, ed., Taliesin West,
In the Realm of Ideas, interpretive guide (Scottsdale, Arizona:
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, 1993), 12.
29 "East prow of the Monitor" is written
on the back of a July 1966 construction photograph in the photo collection
at TIC, DSC.
30 Besinger, Working with Mr. Wright,
31 Frank Lloyd Wright, "Sixty Years of
Living Architecture," exhibition catalog, (New York: Museum of Modern
32 Charles Gordon Lee (d. 1966) received
a B. S. in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania before participating
in the fellowship, first in 1941-1942 and again in 1947-1948. Lee worked
briefly in partnership with Kelly Oliver, another former apprentice,
and when he died in 1966, Oliver took over as Taliesin's representative
for the Headquarters project. Hiring architects as construction supervisors
was standard practice at Taliesin.
33 "Bids for Administration Building at
Rocky Mountain National Park," press release, May 24, 1965, ROMO archives.
The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News both included
a photograph of the "artist's conception" on May 26 and 28 respectively.
34 Superintendent's Monthly Reports, June
and July 1964.
35 Superintendent's Monthly Reports, April
36 Lucas, ed. Taliesin West, in the
Realm of Ideas, 15.
37 Besinger, Working with Mr. Wright,
38 Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Frank Lloyd
Wright Selected Houses.
39 Telephone Interview with Edmund Thomas
Casey by the author, October 23, 1998.
40 Eero Saarinen "used Cor-Ten weathering,
self-protecting steel" in his John Deere and Company Administrative
Center, Moline, Illinois of 1963. See John Peter, The Oral History
of Modern Architecture (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994),
41 "Begin Move to New NPS Adm. Building,"
Estes Park Trail (November 18, 1966); Interview with Casey by
42 The lack of air conditioning was considered
a problem by the subsequent superintendent, and the architects were
admonished for not insisting on it despite Liles' desires. The issue
was actually taken up with higher echelons of the Park Service. Interview
with Casey by the author, October 23, 1998.
43 "Interior Partitions, Upper Floor;"
"Interior Partitions Lower Floor," as constructed drawings, #3609-C,
44 Rodd L. Wheaton, unpublished speech,
Modern Architectural League's Distinguished Service Award, summer 1995.
The award was presented to Victor Hornbein the month before he died.
45 Superintendent's Monthly Report, May
1966. Project Inspector Eugene Mott attended this meeting and assisted
throughout the final stages of construction. From April 1961 to 1963,
Mott was the primary inspector of the Painted Desert Community, Neutra
and Alexander's design in Petrified Forest, Arizona.
46 This wing, the Kawuneeche Visitor Center
Addition, was designed in March 1989 along the lines suggested in the
47 The planters appear lush with greenery
in artists' sketches, but are no longer in use.
48 The "western premier" of this movie
and a related film, "Our Living Heritage," took place at the Denver
Museum of Natural History on August 25, 1966, as part of the Park Service's
50th birthday celebration. The program noted that the relief model used
in the park's interpretive movie would become part of the visitor center.
"Our Living Heritage" was shown simultaneously in Washington, D.C.,
and Richmond, Virginia. See Rocky Mountain National Park, clippings
file, brochures, Western History Room, Denver Public Library.
49 "Hill" was probably John DeKoven Hill,
a member of the Fellowship from 1937 to 1953 and from 1963 to an unknown
date. In 1995, Hill was chairman of the board of directors of the Frank
Lloyd Wright Foundation.
50 "New National Park Headquarters," Coloradan
(Fort Collins) June 14, 1967, 11.
51 "Fact Sheet for Completion Report,"
Invoice, May 17, 1967, ROMO archives.
52 Invitation to dedication, n.d. ROMO,
53 Dedication Program, Headquarters and
Visitor Orientation Building, June 24, 1967, ROMO archives.
54 The Park Service designed a glass enclosure
for the fireplace in October 1968.
55 "As Constructed" designs for the information
and sales counter are dated January 1975 and 1977. Park photographs
dated winter 1982 are labeled "headquarters seating area in visitor
lobby (upstairs) before removal."
56 Tom Keohan to the author, electronic
mail, September 28, 1998.