The dumbing down of Wright Plus

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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For many years Wright Plus was the place that we non-architects could not only view some of the fabulous jewels in Oak Park's treasure chest, but also learn about architecture. When tickets were affordable ($20, $25), there were many young people on the tour, some of them architecture and art students who would occasionally debate docents about details of the homes. The rest of us listened, learned and were entertained by these educated combatants.

Alas, now only the older and wealthier can afford the $100 tickets (or the almost $600 "fast pass"). The docents appear only to know what has been written on their small index card. Most of our questions about the homes were met with, "Sorry, I don't know."

It is always a treat to meet architects who volunteer as docents, but they seem to be rare. One house captain was so snotty and off-putting when we asked to speak to the research captain (whom she said wasn't onsite because of fatigue), that I wondered if I would ever fork out the price of admission again.

How sad.

Lois M. Platt

Owner, Gustavus Babson House I, Lifetime member, FLW Preservation Trust

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Mary Unbehauen Rodrigo from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 22nd, 2013 1:38 PM

I was a first time walker on the FLW House tour. I admit that the price of tickets is the reason that I have not done this before. Though not an architect, the docents and volunteers were able to answer most of my questions. The event was well run and thought out. Kudos to the FLW Preservation for a great job.


Posted: May 22nd, 2013 11:53 AM

A quick Google search reveals tickets haven't been $25 since the early 1990's, over 20 years ago (4x incr vs 5x incr for Cubs tickets over same time). And these "educated combatants" are usually more intent on calling attention to themselves and their "superior intellect" rather than providing insight, as to say "Look at me, I study this full-time and I know more than the volunteers!" Lois, as Billy Joel once sang..."the good old days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

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