One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s First Usonian Houses Hits the Market in Wisconsin for $425K

One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s First Usonian Houses Hits the Market in Wisconsin for $425K

The Charles L. and Dorothy Manson House in Wausau challenged the architect to work within an original budget of $7,500 in 1938.

An early Usonian-style home by Frank Lloyd Wright is now for sale in Wausau, Wisconsin, a couple hours north of Wright’s Taliesin East campus in Spring Green. The landmarked 1938 Charles L. and Dorothy Manson House features many historic details—including what some believe to be the first installation of Wright’s now-famous perforated window screens. After completing a full restoration, the current owners of six years are ready to hand over the keys.

A 44-foot-long gallery with built-in bench seating leads to the main living area. The clerestory windows that illuminate the space feature Wright's now-famous perforated screens on the exterior—a feature that may have been first used here.

The gallery steps down into the living area, where there is more original furniture, built-in shelves, and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace. Local Ringle bricks and red tidewater cypress are used throughout the interior, aligning with the exterior facade.

A few steps lead down into the living area, which features a unique corner window displaying more of Wright’s perforated screens.

According to the listing, the design began with a 1938 letter to Wright from Manson, who had read about the architect’s work in that year’s issue of The Architectural Forum. Manson suggested that Wright consider designs for "those of us who must carry our ideas as far as possible on a limited budget." With Manson offering a $7,500 budget, Wright responded, "We will build your house for you...come to Taliesin and see us and talk it over." Many visits and discussions over three years led to the home's completion in late 1941.

Another view of the living area shows the floor-to-ceiling fireplace. Local Ringle bricks and red tidewater cypress are used throughout the interior, aligning with the exterior facade.

The current owners had a dining table and chairs built in accordance with Wright’s designs to replace the original furniture, which was removed from the home. An original cabinet in the back features full-length piano hinges along each door.

The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. Since then, the current owners repaired and restored many original features following approval from the local historic preservation committee. Recent updates include replacing the original, leak-ridden pebble-and-tar roof with an efficient rubber roofing system, re-staining the exterior, and removing extra windows not included in Wright’s original plans. The owners also remodeled the kitchen, restored both fireplace openings, and repointed bricks around the house.

Around from the dining area, the galley-style kitchen has been modernized with the addition of new countertops, appliances, and fixtures, while retaining the original cabinetry. A small doorway leads back out into the gallery to complete the main living areas.

The Mason House, located in Wausau’s historic East Hill neighborhood, offers four bedrooms and three full bathrooms spread out across nearly 2,500 square feet. Included with the sale are all original blueprints, as well as all furniture. The home is sited on a .58-acre lot, and an adjacent .34-acre lot is also included. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, which is currently asking price $425,000.

On the opposite side the house are four bedrooms and three bathrooms. In the master bedroom (shown here), the current owners restored the fireplace, added shelving, and removed windows all to realign the design with Wright's original plans.

A look at one of three bathrooms.

The exterior of the home is clad in the same cypress and board-and-batten design used inside, with Ringle bricks used for the foundation and planters. Wright-designed perforated window screens can be seen along the back wall, lining the clerestory windows in the gallery.

A front view of the home shows the long, horizontal orientation. The home rests on a three-tiered concrete foundation and slopes down from the street toward a wooded area.

The Charles Manson House by Frank Lloyd Wright is currently for sale by owner with an asking price of $425,000. For more information, visit the property website or contact the current homeowner, David Wood.

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