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We wish to thank those who participated in the planning process, generously giving of their time, their expertise, and their valuable comments.

Interpretation and Management Plan for Fallingwater Prepared by Andropogon Associates, Ltd. for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Sarah Beyer, Assistant Director, Education

September 1997

Earl W. Friend, Maintenance (retired) Jeff Gaul, Assistant Director, Maintenance Dan Johnson, Maintenance Thomas M. Schmidt, Senior Vice-President, Law, Fallingwater & Urban Conservation Larry Schweiger, President Lisa Smith, Director, Stewardship Lynda S. Waggoner, Director, Fallingwater Paul Weigman, Vice-President, Resource Conservation

Fallingwater Advisory Committee Joseph Butler David G. DeLong Mario di Valmarana Fay Jones Paul Mayen Alexander C. Speyer III William G. Swain Edgar Tafel Marigil Walsh

Fallingwater Landscape Advisors George Longenecker Sean Garrigan

Table of Contents

Introduction The Interpretation and Management Plan The Planning Process Stewardship Philosophy

Recommendations Definition of the Fallingwater Site Guidelines for Interpretation and Management Critical Issues Interpretive Themes Proposed Landscape Management Zones and Management Recommendations Priority Actions

Inventory and Evaluation Natural Context Geology, Physiography, Hydrology and Soils Regional Vegetation & Forest Impacts Site Plant Communities Cultural History Bear RunlPre-1900s Wilderness CampNacation Club at Bear Run: 1900s-1930s Frank Lloyd Wright's Country House for the Kaufmanns: 1930s-1960s Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: 1960s-1980s Fallingwater Today: 1980s-1996

All photographs by Andropogon Associates, Ltd., unless othenvise noted.


The Interpretation and Management Plan 'The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy believes that Fallingwater is the sum of its parts: the architect, the client, the architecture, the art, the land and the period. It is the inspired coming together of these parts that make Fallingwater a great work worthy of preservation. " Fallingwater Mission Statement, Board of Directors Resolution.

Adopted September 1990

he primary purpose of the Interpretation and Management Plan is to understand the landscape resources at Fallingwater-both cultural and natural-and to develop strategies to conserve them.


The the heart of the Fallingwater experience-the vision of an architecture embedded in the landscape-evokes a powerful, spiritual connection to the natural world. Many of those interviewed in the course of this study, and all of the participants in the work sessions held as part of the planning process, reaffirmed this theme of interconnections, saying that "the landscape is greater than the sum of its parts", and that Fallingwater demonstrates "a wonderful relationship between human beings and the landscape." Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture at Fallingwater reflects, enhances, and draws inspiration from the surrounding rocks, trees, stream, and waterfall. It is a major artistic, philosophic and social statement by one of the most important design figures of the twentieth century. The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater is its ability to physically and spiritually embrace the natural world, capturing in architecture a vision of man as part of the organic life of the landscape. Fallingwater has suffered from being loved too much. Measures to accommodate this increasing popularity have not always been coordinated or of a standard that is in concert with the experience of the house. In examining these issues, it became clear that a corollary purpose of this Interpretation and Management Plan is to articulate a vision of the landscape that would reintegrate the various parts of the Fallingwater site while also providing much needed facilities and management directions.

Fallingwaler, Frank Lloyd Wright's country house for Edgar Kaufmann, sr. Robert McCarter, Fallingwater

An interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 1

Fallingwaler in lis Setting The man-made parts of Fallingwater would be incomplete without the natural setting; the inte raction of site and building is more intricate and meaningful at FallingwQcer than appears alfirs! sight. From downstream the concrete parapets of the house seem to sublimate the great native rock ledges, echoing. completing, and ordering them. House and rock relate in other ways already indicated; the cliff face of the driveway becomes pa rt of the entry. Layered stone outcroppings arefeatures a/the terrain, their

character echoes in the stone wall of the house and in the rippledjlagging that covers

It is important to understand that the Interpretation and Management Plan is the first part of a larger Master Planning process currently being undertaken by the Conservancy. This process consists of six sequential parts which are outlined below.

1, The Interpretation and Management Plan This plan provides background material about the site, defines the landscape in relation to Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, and clarifies the area critical to the visitor's experience of Fallingwater. It also articulates the central interpretive themes and suggests maj or management zones and the treatment for these zones.

2, The Site Program The site program will examine all the proposed uses for the site from sewage treatment facilities to a convention center and will evaluate the need for these facilities. If they are considered appropriate, the program will flesh out their requirements and review possible locations and their impacts on the site.

3. The Site Survey The site survey is a professional survey of the area to be considered in the program. For Fallingwater it should include topography at two-foot intervals and the locations of all buildings, walls, roads, etc., and major trees and tree masses. This proposed survey area should be determined in the site program phase. At present only 路small parts of the site have been surveyed (in response to building projects). In order to complete the site program phase and to begin the Master Planning phase, an accurate picture of the whole site is needed, with all the elements and their relationships to each other shown. View of the western terrace from the driveway to the garage

4. Baseline Ecological Survey

its floors . Large boulders ente r into the struc ture of Fallingwater. The western terrace is anchored in one, and others occur inside service areas ...

A scientific understanding of the forest ecosystems at Fallingwater is the basis for sound landscape policy decisions and site management. The Conservancy is considering establishing an Ecological Site Database and long-term Monitoring Program which will provide information about the site and help evaluate the effectiveness of the management program.

Water and building repeatedly conjoin, first of all at the extension of the living room balcony over the falls. There the house hovers over the running stream-two elements in harmony.. . Continued on page 3

In terpretation and Management Plan . 2

Trees, too, interweave with the design of the house, slender verticals accenting the bold concrete parapets. A large tulip poplar became afeature ofthe entrance trellis; after maturity it died and a replacement was planted. Furthermore, some saplings were meant to rise through the western terrace, but they did not survive the rigors of construction work.

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6. Design of Specific Projects In this final phase, specific projects are designed and construction documents are prepared for them. These documents include: site layout, grading, sitework and landscaping, and specifications in concert with architectural and utility projects.

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The major relationship of the house and site arises from setting the building within the valley. Wright placed the structure close to the falls and to its underlying rockfault... By setting the house deep in the declivity Wright was assuring its integration with the natural features; lifting it higher would evokefeelings of dominance and separation. But this closeness severely limited the area where footings could be set for the structure .... Wright often had been attracted by steep, problematic sites, and here was one that could be developed with cantilevering; the whole house could rise almost spontaneously out of the setting, thanks to a bold technology." Edgar Kaufmann.jr., Fallingwater

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater • 3

The Planning Process

he goal of the planning process for the Interpretation and Management Plan was to create consensus among key constituents on the vision, guidelines, and strategies needed to preserve and enhance the essential character of Fallingwater. The participants in this process included the director and Conservancy staff at Fallingwater, the Conservancy scientific staff from Pittsburgh, the Conservancy Board and preSident, the Landscape Advisors, and the Advisory Committee.


This process began with a series of key informant interviews to establish an understanding of the place and its particular strengths and weaknesses. Two work sessions were held whose purpose was to define study site boundaries, identify critical issues, and develop guidelines for Interpretation and Management. Work session participants included the Director, Curator, representatives of the educational and maintenance staff at Fallingwater, and the Landscape Advisors. There was also a meeting with the Advisory Committee in New York City where the work session findings were reviewed and other issues of concern to the Advisory Committee were discussed. There was a final review presentation to the Advisory Committee and the Conservancy Board at Fallingwater. The entire planning process involved all the key constituents and helped to foster the inclusive communication that will make the Master Planning Process a success. Work sessions he/d at Fallingwater identified key val ues of the Fallingwater site and important aspects of the visitor experience.

A focused inventory provided an overview of the historical evolution of the site. It highlighted current site problems, opportunities, and trends, and revealed key elements now missing or altered. This section also illustrates how both the natural and cultural forces that shaped the place were characteristic of American life at that time and how these factors influenced the Kaufmanns in their purchase and preservation of the land, and Frank Lloyd Wright in the design of this extraordinary work of art. The examination of the natural environment of the site was divided into the categories of geology, hydrology, physiography, soils and vegetation. The cultural history explored the structure and character of the site during five periods of significance-four historical periods and the present. The final phase of the planning process was the production of this report which defines a site study area, articulates the major interpretive theme which is the "vision for the site," designates management zones, recommends management strategies, and outlines priority actions.

An interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 4


Philosophy The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy's mission is to enrich the human relationship with the natural world by saving the places we care about:

• By conserving water, land and life through the permanent protection of the region's rural and urban places of exceptional ecological, recreational and scenic value. • By engaging in cooperative activities to promote good stewardship of natural resources. • By fostering land stewardship ethics. • By preserving Fallingwater as a symbol oj human activity in harmony with nature. Mission of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 1996


ust as the landscape is a living, dynamic system so are our concepts of the most appropriate ways to intervene to conserve and restore it. Stewardship and conservation are evolving . concepts. Historically, conservation has included both the strategies espoused by John Muircomplete protection of a unique and majestic wilderness-and those of Gifford Pinchot-active use of valuable resources such as timber or water, in a responsible way, to ensure their availability for future generations. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy's mission is to conserve water, land, and life through the permanent protection of regional resources and to foster land stewardship ethics. Often used as a synonym for conservation, stewardship is thought to express more accurately some of the new concepts in the evolving field of land management. It is now realized that protecting a resource from destruction is the crucial first step to protect the land from further deterioration. In recent decades, conservation organizations have instituted land management practices and policies aimed at stabilizing and maintaining land already under preservation. Protection, conservation, and restoration all imply different degrees of intervention and different approaches, but they are each a part of a whole system of saving natural landscapes. The concepts of stewardship and conservation continue to expand to address the growing understanding of widespread impacts on natural ecosystems-from soil eutrophication to invasions of exotic plants and animals, to human interventions such as stormwater mismanagement. Even within preserved lands conditions are deteriorating and are likely to deteriorate further if we stand back and "let nature take her course." Ecological restoration as a means to repair land and to restore biological richness has become one of the new focuses of conservation. At Fallingwater the evolving concepts of stewardship and conservation are an important adjunct to the theme of man's evolving relationship with nature. Fallingwater can foster a new recognition of ourselves as part of the household of nature. This magical place with its remarkable marriage of site and building has the potential to demonstrate both a new "ecological aesthetic," where the place is the inspiration for what is built, and a deeper meaning for "stewardship," where growing ecological understanding is the basis for fostering the health of the ecosystem.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater " 5

Oefinition of the fallingwater Site Study Area he area originally designated for this study was the area immediately around the house and ; visitor's pavilion. From the interviews and workshop discussions, it became evident that in _ order for this plan to be effective in accomplishing its objectives, a larger area should be included in the study. The enlarged study site extended from Route 381 in the south, to the slopes above the house in the north. It included the quarry parking, the top piece of the old trail to the B&O Railroad and the Maintenance Area in the west, and the stream, the crypt, and the service drives to the east.


In assessing the study area, two different landscape organizations emerged, the Major Landscapes of Fallingwater, and the Visitor Journey. The Major Landscapes of Fallingwater plan shows the different landscape types that have developed from present and historical use. Seven character types are identified-the Approach, Service, Estate, Visitor, Cultural, and House landscapes, and the Forest Setting. The Visitor Journey Plans show the approach and the return journey for the visitor to Fallingwater. The approach sequence of landscape experiences build on one another, gradually introducing the visitor to the climax of the experience-arrival at the house. The return journey is considered equally important but currently is less successful. It is the time for visitors to "decompress" and absorb the meaning of what they have seen. The landscape for this return journey should be peaceful and reflective.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater " 6

Guidelines for Interpretation and Management

nce the extent of the study area had been detennined, the work sessions focused on developing consensus about the qualities of FaIlingwater that make it an unrivaled masterpiece. The work sessions also recognized the need for strong guidelines to direct all site interventions because any site improvement, no matter how large or small, could affect the experience. The guidelines below are intended to articulate and reinforce the essence of Fallingwater.

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The connection between the house and the landscape, the essence of the Fallingwater experience, should be reinforced and maintained. "Without drawing on tradition, without relying on precedent, Fallingr..vater was created by Frank Lloyd Wright as a declaration that in nature man finds his spiritual as well as his physical energies, that a harmonious response to nature yields the poetry and joy that nourish human living. Such a place cannot be possessed, it is a work by man for man, not by a man for a man. Over the years since it was built, Fallingwater has grown ever more famous and admired, a textbook example of modern architecture at its best. By its very intensity, it is a public resource, not a private indulgence. "

Edgar Kaufmann, jr. Speech of Ceremony of Transmission, 1963

The Fallingwater landscape should demonstrate the inseparable nature of building and site, as intended by Frank Lloyd Wright. The trees that were left during construction to grow up through the third floor terrace and the driveway trellis are a prime illustration of this concept. Anything placed or planted in the landscape should reinforce this sense of wholeness with the same quality of design intent. The boardwalk built next to the rock face below the visitor's pavilion demonstrates the potential of new facilities to achieve this high quality of integration with the site.

Visitor programs at Fallingwater should enhance the direct experience of the house and the site. The experience of Fallingwater is the house in the landscape. Keeping the immediacy of the experience requires that signage and interpretative materials be kept to a minimum and not be "institutional" in their design.

The Fallingwater experience includes all of the visitor journeys to the site and through the landscape as well as the experience of the building. Visitors often make a special trip to FalIingwater, as though making a pilgrimage to a shrine. They expect an extraordinary experience. Everything the visitor encounters should resonate with the house and its powerful setting. The journey to the house, beginning with the approach to Fallingwater, sets the stage for the experience which culminates in the views to the house and from within the house. The return from the house should allow visitors to reflect on and assimilate the experience.

Visitorship has to be carefully managed so that the fragile resources of Fallingwater can be preserved and the quality of the experience maintained. As FalIingwater is a proposed World Heritage Site, the pressure for visitorship will continue to increase. As a first step toward understanding visitor impacts, the number of visitors per season and per year and their activities on site, should be documented. The Conservancy staff may want to develop some test policies restricting visitation to certain times of the year or to specific places

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater



on the site, Any restrictive policy should be accompanied by programs that educate visitors about the stabilization and ongoing restoration of both building and landscape,

Restoration of the health and quality of the surrounding ecosystem is critical to the preservation of Fallingwater and should be part of the public education process. "We are not the same after occupying it [Fallingwaterl as we were when we entered; our perceptions have been both broadened and deepened, our experience has been profoundly moving; yet we are aware that FaIlingwater reveals itself slowly, and never once and for all." Donald Hoffmann Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, The House and Its History

The forest surrounding Fallingwater provides a rich natural context for the experience as well as essential protection of the Bear Run watershed, Restoration and management of the forest can demonstrate a partnership with the natural world, It is an appropriate place to demonstrate creative strategies for dealing with contemporary forest issues and to bring these issues to public awareness through interpretative and educational programs,

Effective realization of landscape goals requires a process that is timely, integrates a range of site and user issues, and is inclusive of those most involved in implementation and management. In order to support the curator and director of Fallingwater in their decision making, the many groups involved in the landscape should have the opportunity to review and comment on new site interventions, These groups include the maintenance and educational staff of Fallingwater, the scientific staff and board of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Advisory Committee, the established group of Landscape Advisors, and the summer interns, The Advisory Committee has a special role in maintaining the artistic quality of Fallingwater and should be a prominent part of design-related reviews,

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater " 8

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An Interpretation and Management Plan jOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

number of concerns about the deterioration of the landscape were brought to our attention throughout the planning process-in the Fallingwater Request for Proposal, in the interviews, in the two on-site work sessions and in the presentation to the Advisory Committee. Although these issues are grouped here into separate categories, they are interrelated,

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Photograph of the house in 1962. Paul Mayon

Grounds Maintenance Maintenance, like all other aspects of the Fallingwater site, should be viewed holistically. This means that all landscape maintenance decisions and proposed landscape maintenance projects should be reviewed by a landscape advisory committee which meets at least four times a year on site. This committee should be representative of all the different groups presently involved in landscape decisions: • Fallingwater staff, especially the director, the maintenance and the education staff • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy scientific staff in Pittsburgh • Fallingwater Landscape Advisors • The Fallingwater Advisory Committee Fallingwater is fortunate to have such a competent and caring maintenance staff and it is critical for them to have directions which represent a consensus on maintenance operations. This will enable this small staff to function efficiently and to be an effective tool in realizing a vision for Fallingwater where all the landscapes complement the core experience.

Loss of Canopy Trees around the House Storms have caused the loss of several trees around the house and guest house. Several trees near the guesthouse were also removed when their condition represented a physical hazard to the buildings. Three trees were removed below the south hillside to allow professional photographers an unimpeded view of the house. Some trees on the hillside above the garage courtyard were removed to lower the humidity in order to preserve the structure and the contents of the house from excess moisture by allowing more light and air circulation.

View today shows loss affive large canopy trees in front of the house. (The originalloeations of these trees are shown on the Forest Garden Management Plan.)

While these losses are not very noticeable in themselves, the cumulative effect over time is obvious from historic photographs. At present the forest around the house is maturing from a young second growth forest with many tall, thin stems, to a more mature one with fewer, broader and more widely spaced trunks. Competition with larger trees and with the thick understory of rhododendron has caused the loss of many younger trees. The maturing forest with its older,

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater • 9

larger trees has brought a new beauty to the site and reinforced the romantic qualities that Wright admired in nature. However, it is the loss of older, established trees that were intertwined with the architecture that is of concern, not the changes that have occurred as the forest matures. This loss is particularly noticeable on the southern terrace where the trees have been removed for structural reasons and on the southern slope below where trees were cut to allow professional photographers unimpeded views of the house. With Fallingwater it should always be difficult to tell where the building stops and the forest begins. Those trees that were part of the architecture should be replaced.

Rhododendrons Much of the shrub layer near the house is solid rhododendron. Some decline of the rhododendrons has been noted, with occasional patches of dead rhododendrons in highly visible places. Rhododendron dieback may be due in part to senility or borers. Older plants are more susceptible to any stress such as insects, diseases, or chemical changes.

Rhododendrons have been cut back to rejuvenate older plants and at the same lime keep them from obscuring views out from and to the house. Thick masses of rhododendron appear to inhibit tree reproduction. Canopy replacements should be planted in gaps in the rhododendron clumps.

George Longenecker, one of Fallingwater's Landscape Advisors, has been studying the rhododendron problem for several years. He suggests that the major problems are high aluminum and high boron content in soils with very low pHs. As he notes, different problems have different symptoms. The burning of the margins of the leaves indicates boron toxicity. The symptoms of aluminium toxicity are: drooping of leaves indicating moisture stress (when adjacent plants are not showing stress, browning of leaves due to desiccation, and death of the plants. On the hillside behind and below the Maintenance Area near the top of the hill where the rhododendrons appear unhealthy, measurements show that the pH for the sandstone soils is below 4.2; the typical pH under normal rhododendrons in this area is 4.5. Micronutrient tests show that the aluminium content is high in all the soils in this area. It appears that most of the rhododendrons in the area of the house and guest house are thriving and reproducing. George Longenecker and his students from West Virginia University, have been monitoring the pH of the soil and raising it when it fall s below 4.5. They are also cutting back the larger plants to rejuvenate them. Old plants cut back to 4-6 inch stubs have quickly resprouted.

In this region, thick masses of rhodondendrons are characteristically confined to the steeper, narrower stream valleys. At Fallingwater, rhododendrons appear to be spreading beyond the tight stream valleys and to be overtaking the mountain laurel , spicebush, viburnum and amelanchier which can be seen on the upper slopes along Shady Lane. The scientific staff of the Conservancy should review this issue with George Longenecker to determine the trends in this landscape.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 10

Facilities and Service Wastewater and Sewage Disposal Currently only the visitor pavilion meets state and local environmental standards for wastewater and sewage disposal. The Conservancy would also like to demonstrate ecologically sound solutions for all aspects of development including safe and effective means of sewage disposal for all other buildings. In addition, these projects should be aesthetically pleasant. Sewage treatment could be viewed as an educational exhibit, such as a solar aquatic system in a green house, or it should be unobtrusively located, for example in the quarry.

Paving The entrance road, exit road, parking lots, and return path are non-historic features that are paved with asphalt. The driveway to Fallingwater and the service road (Shady Lane), both historic, remain in gravel which develops gullies and holes and requires considerable maintenance. The maintenance staff would like to replace the present gravel along the lower driveway and service road with asphalt which is easier to plow in the winter. However, asphalt would generate greater amounts of storrnwater runoff and from a cultural point of view, additional asphalt paving should be very carefully evaluated, since this material was clearly not original to the Kaufmann site. Gravel has certain environmental impacts. The gravel used may raise the pH of soils in the area and fall leaf removal techniques can move gravel into the surrounding areas. However, the extremely attractive moss edges that line the roads are fostered by a gravel substrate and poor mineral soils. These moss edges help provide an "estate-like" and well cared for appearance and act as a transition area between the cultural landscapes and the forest.

The rich variety of paving at the bridge to the house can sugges t approp riate materials for pathways and overlooks.

Fallingwater should explore the use of alternate paving materials for the pathways. Asphalt can look very beautiful, for example it can be porous, it can have a colored aggregate, it can have an exposed aggregate and grow moss on the surface. However, there are other materials which may come closer to achieving an "ecological aesthetic" for the Fallingwater site. Paving stones made of native stone, like the floor of Fallingwater's living room, or "road oyl" which stabilizes gravel might be considered. Any materials chosen should be part of the vocabulary of the site and introduce the visitor to the colors, textures, and geometries of the rocks and vegetation in much the same way that the parapets of the house take their form from the sandstone ledges at the waterfall.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 11

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Stonnwater Stormwater volume is directly related to the amount of impervious surface. At Fallingwater, the main visitor parking lot generates the greatest amount of storm water runoff, resulting in some gullying of the hillside beyond the return path. Since this parking lot is nearly on bedrock, providing a more porous surface would not mitigate the problem. Alternatives such as infiltration trenches placed in the hillside at the edge of the lot, would slowly release water into the hillside. Such a solution should be considered both in conjunction with a future redesign of the parking area and to resolve the immediate problem .


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Maintenance Area The maintenance area functions as a storage and support area for Fallingwater operations. It houses a maintenance garage, fuel storage area, parking area for staff and maintenance vehicles, and an archives/storage building, The museum shop storage and receiving functions have recently been moved to the old schoolhouse on Route 381. The maintenance area is highly visible, and unfortunately its character is not appropriate to the site. Many work session participants expressed a desire that the maintenance area simply "disappear." Redesign of this area to provide a new kitchen and new service access is currently under construction. However, this area still poses very serious problems. The site is extremely tight and cannot accommodate all maintenance activities. Construction has thinned the forest buffer between this area and the exit road, and the new service access will open up a view into the center of the facility. At present, the undefined boundaries of the area have allowed debris piles and grading to impact the edge of adjacent forest. Storage of materials, such as gravel and mulch, are presently piled in the overflow parking area and are still not consolidated in this area as there are no facilities to accommodate them. While there is a certain amount of flexibility in this area which would allow for outdoor storage bins to be located here, the site has limitations. Serious consideration should be given to relocating the maintenance area off-site, or, if this is not possible, to relocate staff parking to a less visible area nearby.

Service Vehicles Maintenance area showing views of parking and garage.

There are two types of service vehicles delivering to Fallingwater: small delivery trucks such as UPS vans, and large eighteen-wheelers . Eighteen-wheelers often deliver supplies since Fallingwater deliveries are combined with those to nearby mountain resorts. Moving the museum shop storage and receiving facilities to the old schoolhouse have created space in an existing building in the maintenance area which will be used as a kitchen, office, and staff meeting room. It will also allow eighteen-wheelers to make deliveries to this area and remove them from the visitor area. An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater • 12

Trucks servicing Fallingwater enter the property by the same entrance as visitors. This can necessitate a wait in the visitor line. Large trucks travel around the entrance loop and return to the maintenance area for deliveries; UPS and smaller trucks cut across the loop just beyond the gatehouse. Large trucks require large turning radii and accommodating them can have a significant impact on the landscape. Relocation of the museum shop receiving area to Route 381 will alleviate some of this use-perhaps this area or the Nature Center at the barn should be considered for use as a receiving dock for other deliveries as well.

Visitor Use Buses The problem of traffic waiting in lines at the ticket pavilion may have administrative solutions. Moving truck delivery to the old school house on Rt. 381 has alleviated part of the problem.

Since tour buses replace large numbers of private cars that would otherwise use the visitor lot, some accommodation must be made for them. However, fumes from continually running engines have damaged the woodland edge below the bus parking, while the noise and fumes generated by these buses destroy the atmosphere of a special site in the woods. Fallingwater policy prohibits leaving engines running, but many operators disregard this in order to keep air circulating and bus interiors comfortable in the winter and summer. Buses also cause damage negotiating the tight, winding driveways. Requiring the buses to park against the large planting island in the main parking lot would alleviate the damage to the woodland edge and make a more pleasant experience for those coming back to the lot from the return trail. Strict enforcement of the "no engines on" policy should be a part of this solution. Long-term solutions to this problem should explore the possibility of parking buses off-site and carrying people to Fallingwater in shuttle vans.

Designated Paths and Unauthorized Trails There are two types of paths at Fallingwater, designated pathways which are authorized and maintained by the staff and unauthorized "rogue" trails which are desire lines made into access ways by visitors. Some of the designated pathways, such as the boardwalk, are safe and effective models for the experience appropriate to Fallingwater. Other pathways such as the return path, an adaptation of a former farm road-are poorly designed and institutional in character. The return path from the house was afann road when the Kilufinanns bought the site. Modified over time, it has become a conventionLli path with an unappealing uphill climb to the parking lot.

There is a proliferation of unauthorized trails, as visitors looking for the best photographic vantage points have created "rogue" trails around the house and guest house. It is important to accommodate these photographers, both amateur and professional, but photographic vantage An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 13

points should be designated. To prevent erosion in these areas the ground should be reinforced and this could be done so that the reinforcement is invisible, such as with an underground mesh blanket. Alternately, elegant stone paving or native boulders could be used. There should be explicit signs which ask the visitor to walk only in designated areas in order to preserve the forest. Rogue trails should be removed as soon as they occur so that visitors do not see a potential trail. A brochure could explain the forest ecosystem and its fragility and the program for repair of eroded areas. (---


"Rogue" trail above the falls overlook

The designated overlook downstream is a beloved vantage point. The hillside below the overlook has been trampled by visitors wanting a better view of the house or access to the falls . The overlook area, which is a very difficult spot to plant because it is a north-facing slope shaded by hemlocks, has been replanted several times but continues to be trampled by visitors. To preserve the overlook, and the steep slopes below, young trees in and around the stream that block the view of the house should be removed. This should be done very selectively, and only the trees actually obscuring the view should be taken. It is always desirable to let the site carry the message. In general, obscuring foliage at vantage points should be pruned on a regular basis so that visitors are not tempted to scramble down the slope for a view. Redesign of other areas by adding large rocks and dense planting will discourage most unauthorized access. It is very important that these additions appear as part of the landscape and not as artificial barriers .

Access to Falls Water is magnetic and people naturally gravitate towards it. Visitors want to get as close to the falls as possible but the steep, slippery steps to the waterfall are a liability. New proposals for safe access to the falls should be thoroughly reviewed in the Programming and Master Planning Phases. In the meanwhile, barberry and other invasive exotic plants that were planted at the foot of the steps to impede access should be removed immediately, before they spread. A dense planting of rhododendrons should be added where the trail joins the main path so visitors are not aware that a trail exists.

Sign age

The overlook has several signs to keep visitors within the designated area, but some continue to scramble down the slope to the stream

Present signs at Fallingwater are generally attractive and low key; however, they are often poorly sited. The three signs located together just inside the gate carry mUltiple messages that new visitors must stop to read. Since one of the guidelines for Fallingwater is to "let the site carry the message," signage should be kept to the minimum needed for direction and safety. A graphiC vocabulary should be developed to convey messages simply and consistently.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater . 14

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Furnishings The design of existing benches, trash receptacles, etc., varies, but many of them are institutional in character and do not convey the unique cultural and natural qualities both of this site. All site improvements, no matter how familiar or seemingly insignificant, should be reconsidered and site furnishings should be designed to help the visitor see the landscape with fresh eyes. For example, benches should be placed in well thought out locations so that they foster an intimate and exciting relationship with the landscape. They should express the interweaving of architectural elements with the site and, if possible, use the colors, textures and materials of the site as well as the design vocabulary of Frank Lloyd Wright at Fallingwater. The gate is an excellent example of a site furnishing that fulfills many of these requirements. It is a very successful enhancement to the visitor experience, conveying a sense of arrival as well as introducing the visitor to elements of Wright's design.

Site Lighting Lighting is integral to the whole experience of Fallingwater and as such it should take its forms from Wright's imaginative lighting for the house. Conventional lighting such as pole standards, flood lights, and uplighting trees, would be too obvious and intrusive on this site. Two types of lighting are needed at Fallingwater, one for special events and one for everyday lighting when natural light levels are low. The areas that need to be lighted are the new entrance gate, the ticket pavilion area, the main parking lot, and the pathways to and from the house. It is possible to provide lighting that is effective and safe but which still creates an atmosphere.


Design and siting of benches do not foster a special relationship with the site.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater • 15


he interpretive program for Fallingwater should provide a context for Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, the central experience of the site, and integrate the stewardship concerns of the , Conservancy with this experience.


Interpretive themes tell the stories of a site. This site shares with other sites a history of exploitation, preservation, and recovery of the land. However, Fallingwater is unique because Wright's design of the Kaufmann country house is a powerful and eloquent expression of a new partnership with the landscape. This site is particularly suited to illustrate the theme of the American experience of the landscape. History has taken the site at Bear Run from a wilderness managed by the native peoples, through an era of unregulated commercial exploitation by settlers, to private conservation, to the creation of Fallingwater, and then to the contemporary era of public stewardship. This is a journey which illustrates love of the "wilderness," the conservation of a treasured resource (both natural and cultural), and a vision of an "ecological aesthetic" derived from the distinct qualities of a place. The journey culminates in this special house which allows the visitor to identify with a uniquely American way of living, infonnal and individual in its expression, and still be awed by its intimacy with the natural world. This interpretation of the American experience of the landscape ties together many disciplines-art, art history, architecture, historic preservation, landscape architecture, the natural sciences, environmental conservation, ecological restoration, and cultural landscape preservation. All interpretation at Fallingwater should enhance the experience of the actual place and therefore must be as subtle and eloquent as the building while acknowledging the complexities of the landscape.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater



Proposed landscape Management Zones and Management Recommendations


tewardship, today, implies some form of management of the biotic systems of a landscape. Since management is a goal-driven activity, it is important to clearly define the goals for Fallingwater and for the forest at the larger Bear Run Nature Reserve. One of the conclusions of this report is that at the largest scale, an appropriate goal for interventions at the Bear Run Nature Reserve is to manage for ecosystem health and biodiversity. However, for the forest at Fallingwater, especially management of the areas designated Forest Garden and Presentation Forest, this scientific goal should be integrated with an artistic goal-the recovery of the drama, beauty, and visual richness of an analogous but less disturbed forest, in all of its successional phases.

Four zones at Fallingwater were identified as requiring different management strategies. These zones are: I. 2. 3. 4.

A photograph taken du ring the Kaufmanns' occupancy shaws hawaII layers of the forest particularly the shrub layer and forest floor -- are brought into the architecture to create a Forest Garden. FW Archives





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These landscapes require different treatments. These treatments represent a diminishing degree of intervention. The Forest Garden will require the most attention-almost garden-like maintenance on a regular basis- to preserve specific aesthetic effects, to reinforce the sense of order, and to repair any damage. The Forest Setting will require the least attention but will be the focus of specific projects and of monitoring for potential problems such as deer or disease. Because Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture conveys so powerfully the theme of man as part of nature, an assumption is made in this report that all the landscapes on the site, with the exception of the cultural landscape, will be indigenous plant communities in their appropriate habitats . While each of the zones will always require a certain level of attention, it is also assumed that once established these communities will be increasingly self-maintaining. Specific recommendations for the site should be reviewed and prioritized by the scientific staff of the Conservancy, working closely with the maintenance staff at Fallingwater and the Landscape Advisors. Specific management recommendations are keyed to areas on the plans that follow.



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The reintroduction afforest /ayers and the removal oj placed stones will restore and enrich this area. An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape ofFallingwater . 17

Proposed Landscape Management Zones Forest Garden

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An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

Fallingwater responds to, and integrates with, the natural setting. Furthermore, there are practically no gardens or special plantings; nature is the garden." Edgar Kaufmann, jr., Fallingwater H •••

The Forest Garden The Forest Garden is a romanticized and idealized presentation of the forest. This presentation although dramatized for aesthetic purposes nonetheless represents accurate plant to plant relationships and the latest ecological understanding. The Forest Garden is found only in the areas within and around the house complex and includes all the areas Frank Lloyd Wright integrated with the architecture such as the tall canopy trees that come up through the architecture and the rocky cliff face at the entrance.

Recommendations: • At the edge of the house and within the house complex there are certain areas that were once planted with horticultural species by Liliane Kaufmann and her gardener. These areas are now filling with turf, remanent horticultural plants and successional forest species. There was much discussion about the merits of replacing the original species planted by Mrs. Kaufmann. This report suggests that horticultural species be maintained only in pots as it is difficult and expensive to replace the Kaufmann plants . It was not the intention of Frank Lloyd Wright or Edgar Kaufmann, jr. to surround the house with conventional garden plants which do not contribute to the sense of a house that is a dramatic part of a natural landscape.

The Forest Garden is an opportunity to foster species that are increasingly rare, provide seed sources Jor the adjacent forest, and to introduce visitors to the dram11 and beauty of theforest floor.

• The areas, identified on the Forest Garden Landscape Management Plan, as areas for extensive Forest Garden treatment, should be replanted with forest understory plantsflowering understory, shrubs and a rich, native, herbaceous layer. The specific natural habitat -stream corridor, lower slope, rocky slope, etc. and the specific soil and canopy conditions, should be identified by the Conservancy and a list of species appropriate for each habitat developed. Species alone, however, will not make a garden. Observing the patterns-the arrangement of plants in similar natural habitats-is the way to "design with nature" After planting, this area will need management, removal of competing, weedy species and replanting where necessary. • Horticultural plants should be used only in pots or where they replace specific Kaufmann plantings that are to be reinstated. These should be limited to those species known to be non-aggressive so there can be no danger of introducing potentially invasive species.

The rock cliff adjacent to the house provides an opportunity for Forest Garden treatment.

• Evaluate the possible replacement of trees that have died or have been removed around the main house. These trees should be replanted either with the same species, if known, or with appropriate tree species identified from the proposed Plant Community Inventory.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of FaIlingwater • 18

• Continue to manage all the rhododendrons around the house including those obscuring the views to and from the house and those that have grown too big and leggy, by cutting back older specimens. Work should be phased so that visible impacts are not obvious in anyone area. (This work is presently being done by staff and summer interns under the direction of George Longenecker.) • Remove some of the rhododendrons along the paths to allow the edges to undulate. Creating "alcoves" will help to mitigate the "tunnel" effect developing along the paths in front of the house.

The Cultural Setting

The KIlufmann swimming pool at Fallingwater. This pool, although channing, was not built by Frank Lloyd Wright. FW Archives

The cultural setting includes the remnants of the Kaufmann domestic landscape as well as the pastoral views of woodlands, farm fields and rural elements seen along the approach road to Fallingwater. Several components of the Kaufmann landscape are no longer present-the upper vegetable gardens have become the visitor parking lot and the swimming pool was removed at the request of Edgar Kaufmann, jr. There was much discussion to determine an attitude towards the cultural landscape. Should it be retained as a reminder of country living or should it be demolished as detracting from the core experience of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece? Eventually, it was determined to preserve what is presently extant but not to reconstruct missing elements. Some components of the cultural setting are picturesque and deeply valued but are also at the end of their life, such as the orchard and the snake fencing along Route 381. These areas will require remedial care and in some cases reconstruction.

Recommendations: • George Longnecker should continue to supervise the pruning of the old apple trees in the orchard to return the trees to a more typical "apple" shape. • Shade tolerant no-mow grasses could be planted underneath the present orchard These grasses developed by Prairie Nurseries in Wisconsin are self maintaining at about 6-8 inches in height. (See appendix.)

The swimming pool was demolished in the early 19705

at the request of Edgar KIlufmann, jr., changing the character of the landscape.

• Maintain the area in front of the old gardener's cottage, which is used for large gatherings, as lawn. Alternately, this area could be managed as a greensward, a mixed grass and forb lawn kept at 4-6 inches in height. Greensward is a closer approximation to the historic "mixed species lawn" of the 1920s and '30s . It is ecologically diverse and requires less input of fertilizers and herbicides.

An interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater • 19

The Presentation Forest The Presentation Forest is the forest that surrounds most of the visitor facilities such as the driveways, the entrance and exit roads, the parking lots and the pedestrian walkways through the site. Like the Forest Garden it is a natural landscape managed to enhance aesthetic effects. Unlike the Forest Garden it represents many different stages of forest succession. The Presentation Forest at Fallingwater should be managed to provide the visitor with as many different kinds of indigenous forest landscapes as possible. These presentations should enhance the sense of clear structure and ecological romance, characteristic of the best of Fallingwater landscapes.

Recommendations: The walkway from the pavilion to the parking lot could be treated as "young woodland" by selecting the existing successional species to emphasize tall, thin, stems planted very tightly together.

• Manage the walk between the pavilion and the parking lot, currently a young forest landscape that is not very coherent or attractive, to present the drama of the tall, thin, closely spaced stems of a young woodland. • Replant an extensive understory and shrub layer in the island between the entrance and exit drives to further buffer the entrance drive from the maintenance area. Include native deciduous trees and flowering understory as well as evergreen shrubs. • Enrich the planting between the visitor pavilion pods with trees, understory, shrub and herbaceous layers of the mature forest to bolster the impression of "the pavilion in the forest. " Manage existing planting with selected pruning and remove plants which do not contribute to the designed presentation. • Gradually remove the line of overgrown non-native shrubs near the stream and replant with native understory trees and shrubs appropriate to this streamside habitat.

Manage roadside forest along exit drive to create a multi -layered edge.

• Encourage moss rather than turf at the edge of the service drive below the pavilion. Plant area with ferns and wildflowers. • Where the boardwalk meets the service drive and the shrub layer is sparse, replant evergreen shrubs to screen the boardwalk views and to enhance the Choreographed sequence of the visitor experience from closed boardwalk to open lawn.

Where the boardwalk meets the service drive and the shrub layer is sparse, replant evergreen sh ru bs to screen the boardwalk views .

• Manage the edges of the parking lot and exit drive as woodland edge. Remove weedy successional vegetation, briars, and vines. Each edge should be different, reflecting its orientation (N, S, E, or W). South-facing edges might be planted with an extensive flowering understory of small flowering trees, shrubs and a border of tall grasses and wildflowers. North-faCing edges might be opened up to afford views into the forest.

An Interpretation and Ma nagement Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater • 20

The Forest Setting The Forest Setting is the forest that is the backdrop to the visitor experience at Fallingwater. Repair of the ground, where damaged, should precede replanting and management. This area should be the focus of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy's Baseline Ecological Inventory.

Recommendations: • At the rear of the Maintenance Area repair eroded areas, relocate isolated stacks of materials, and remove building remnants and other debris that is not historical. Restore the ground contours and mulch repaired areas with 112 inch of leaf litter. Replant the forest edges using species identified by the proposed Plant Community Inventory. • Conservancy scientific staff should work with George Longenecker to determine the extent of the rhododendron habitat and to review the causes of rhododendron problems. • Conservancy scientific staff should identify a list of invasive exotic species and procedures for their eventual removal. •

Rethink the education trail in the light of the overall vision for the site.

• Review the Norway spruce plantations and determine if they should be cut down and allowed to return to native forest or be kept as a cultural artifact. • Monitor the Forest Setting for early evidence of major disturbances such as excessive deer predation and plant diseases (ash yellows, hemlock aphid and scale, and dogwood anthracnose) and report regularly to the Landscape Advisory Committee.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater ." 21

Forest Garden Management Areas

Tree locations are approximate, taken from \930's plan of main house (Garrigan and Torres, 1993. Univ. of Pennsylvania).


Canopy trees (key to architecture) missing in 1996eval uate for replacement


Canopy trees (key to architecture) surviving in 1996


Major Areas for intensive Forest Garden treatment

An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

Priority Actions

everal priority actions are recommended as part of the ongoing Master Planning process. These actions will help consolidate existing infonnation, presently available only in bits and pieces and will also fill important gaps. The site survey, the long-range program and the site monitoring project recommended here will, with infonnation from this report, help to provide a complete picture of the site-its possibilities and opportunities and its very real constraints. With this picture, Fallingwater decision-makers, from the Board to the Landscape Advisors and maintenance staff, can share the same infonnation, using it as the basis for infonned decisions.


Commission a topographic survey of the site that includes all visitor areas and all sites for potential development such as the barn, the old schoolhouse, the quarry, etc. A survey provides an accurate topographic map of the site and shows the locations of all roads, paths, parking, and buildings. It can also show the locations of all major trees and the outlines of forest areas. At present, there is no survey for the entire Fallingwater site--only a 1970s survey of the house and the area immediately around it and a recent survey of the maintenance area. A survey is critical to the Master Planning process. No real physical planning can be done without an accurate picture of the site. The plans in this report use a sketch of the site from a Fallingwater brochure superimposed on contours blown up from a USGS map at the scale of one inch equals 2,000 feet (on this map the Fallingwater site is one inch square). Everything from the determination of the amount of room needed in the maintenance area to turn a truck around to the realignment of the return path will require accurate topography and accurate footprints of existing facilities. Perhaps even more important than its value to the planner, a site survey will provide the Board. staff, and advisors with an accurate plan of the whole site. This picture will enable all concerned to evaluate the implications of any proposed development.

Develop a long-range site program. A site program determines the physical facilities desired: their size, location, the number of people they will serve, the access required, and their relationship to each other. A possible timeframe for completion of the facilities proposed for Fallingwater might be five to ten years. The facilities suggested can be new ones or retrofits or expansions of existing ones. Although this program should focus mainly on evaluating present and proposed site facilities, it is important to include an examination of present and proposed buildings, as well, because they have a major impact on site design.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater



In discnssing these facilities, a number of questions will have to be answered. For example, it will be important to clarify, in the program phase, the relationship between Fallingwater and the larger Bear Run Nature Reserve. For Fallingwater, a program phase might take three to four months and could be considered either the first phase of the Master Plan, or be treated a separate phase. It can be conducted in-house by the Conservancy or led by an outside consultant. The program phase is a prerequisite to physical planning. Without a program the planner has either no decisions to work with or must contend with decisions that continuously change as new information is discovered or new people are brought into the process.

Establish an Ecological Site Database and Monitoring Program for the entire Bear Run Nature Reserve. Monitoring tells the story of the site, what it is, how it is changing and likely to change. Creation of a Baseline Ecological Survey and long-term Site Monitoring Program will record the changing environmental conditions and the consequences of any actions taken. This will eventually allow all those at Fallingwater working with the landscape to understand the local mechanisms that govern a site, to see long-term trends, and to evaluate the consequences of management policies and individual site management actions. The Conservancy expects to initiate an ecological inventory of the Fallingwater site, with field work beginning sometime in 1997. Because of the limited staff, time, and money that can be allotted to the project, the inventory should focus on the identification of key natural processes and the significant ecological units, rather than compiling lists of individual species. It is important to record both major plant communities and also minor ones which often reflect more accurately significant ecological change. Monitoring protocols should be developed by Conservancy ecologists with the assistance of the present Landscape Advisors since much of the sampling work could be carried out with the help of the landscape summer interns. All inventory, monitoring, and restoration work shOUld be coordinated with the Conservancy's Site Conservation Plan for the Youghiogheny River Corridor. By providing real, time-based information, the monitoring program can make a bridge between the Fallingwater and Pittsburgh staff and help develop accurate scientific conclusions.

Establish criteria for project selection As part of the development of the Program, criteria should be established to determine whether a project is appropriate to Fallingwater and all proposed projects should be scrutinized in light of these requirements. An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater



Schedule regular communications between the Pittsburgh science staff and Fallingwater education and maintenance staff Intimate nnderstanding of the natural processes of the Fallingwater site is critical to ensuring that interventions are appropriate and will provide the desired result. The Pittsburgh staff can bring a scientific perspective to all landscape activities at FaIlingwater, from vegetation management to an evaluation of the ecological impacts of site improvements, It is important that communication be proactive and timely so that interventions are discussed before actions are taken, The Landscape Advisors should also be included in key meetings with the Conservancy and the FalIingwater staff. This would help integrate individual landscape projects and the work of the summer interns with the day-to-day operations of the staff and the identification of key projects.

Experiment with a variety of visitor restrictions to reduce landscape impacts. Winter is the time when visitation is lowest and also the time of greatest impacts to the house and site. Fallingwater has recently initiated a new policy on public visitation and will be closed to the public in January, February and March. The current practice of selling grounds tickets to accommodate overflow visitation from the house has resulted in large numbers of people moving through the landscape. Although this is potentially a very positive use of FalIingwater, this policy should be suspended until there are appropriate paths and signage directing visitors in the landscape and landscape barriers to prevent unauthorized access to the slopes.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Falling-water








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'he Fallingwater site is located in the Bear Run Valley. The surrounding forest, stream, geology, and landforms are not just the setting for the house but integral to it and part of the visitor i experience and the interpretive message.

Natural ~ontext

Geology The great inland sea that once covered southwestern Pennsylvania left layers of sediment that gradually hardened into the sedimentary rocks seen today at Fallingwater. These cyclical beds of Pottsville sandstone, shale, and limestone were pushed up into long parallel ridges. Streams in the area eroded the softer limestone and shales. The stream at Bear Run dropped from the more resistant sandstone ledges to create a series of waterfalls. It is at the most dramatic of these falls, on top of the stream, just above the dropping water, that Wright sited the Kaufmann house. The large, fractured sandstone ledges visible at these falls are faithfully echoed in Wright's design of the cantilevered terraces. Commercially valuable clays and coals underlie most of the region. The combination of these minerals, timber, and the abundant streams and rivers for water power and transportation fueled an explosion of industry in the 19th century that left a lasting effect on the landscape. Seams of soft coal lying just beneath the land's surface were readily stripped away, gouging huge holes in the hillsides, dismantling forests, removing soil, altering and polluting waterways. These industries encouraged the expansion of the railroads across the Allegheny Mountains which in turn fueled further commercial exploitation of the region. Scars from coal mining and its related industries are still visible throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. The recovery of forests and streams has been slow. Understanding the extent of destruction and exploitation experienced in this region less than 100 years ago makes the statement of Fallingwater and its promise of healing the breach between man and the natural world more poignant.


The waterfall before Fallingwater. Note the large blocks of rock that have broken off and slumped as their underlying supporting layers have eroded lrtVay. Samuel Stewart postcard, 1912. FW Archives

The Bear Run watershed comprises approximately 6.4 square miles. If one assumes a mean annual precipitation of about 40 inches and a total runoff (base or dryweather flow + surface runoff or storm flow) amounting to about 25% of the mean annual precipitation, or about 10 inches, then the mean annual flow of the stream will probably be in the range of 4 to 5 cubic feet per second. On average, this region sees more than 40 thunderstorms per year. Given the rugged topography, the resultant steep stream gradient, and the highly variable precipitation regimen of the area, streamflow will be highly variable. Streams are dynamic systems, and streams with waterfalls represent especially dynamic interactions between the geology and hydrology of a site. Waterfalls develop where streams cross resistant ledges

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater

~ 25

of rock. In one type, the stream crosses a relatively flat-lying, resistant stratum and excavates a deep channel in the easily eroded, underlying formations. A series of cascades such as those of Bear Run develop in similar fashion, but because the resistant beds and more erodible beds are relatively thin and cyclically interbedded, the falls develop a characteristic "stair-step" profile. Such falls retreat upstream without appreciably losing their height. Moreover, the rate of retreat is not constant because the collapse of blocks of the overlying resistant beds occur suddenly, when sufficient underpinning has been removed by erosion. The falls on Bear Run should be surveyed and monitored closely to determine changes in their profile over time.

Physiography Almost all of southwestern Pennsylvania lies within the Appalachian Plateaus and Mountains. This long and relatively narrow physiographic region stretches from northern Georgia to southern portions of New England. The terrain consists of ridges, plateaus, steep slopes, and dramatic gorges-landform variations that provide a range of orientation, elevation, and moisture that in turn govern the different expressions of the forest.

Laurel Highlands-the ridges are dramatic as seen from Route 381 approaching Fallingwater

Site physiography influenced the location of Fallingwater and also that of the houses that preceded it, such as the Porter Cottage overlooking the stream near the falls . The roads, camp buildings, and later the Kaufmann vegetable gardens, which in turn were followed by the parking area and pavilion, were all sited in response to landform.

Soils Fallingwater soils in the vicinity of the house, guest house, and pavilion are fairly shallow soils that have developed from material weathered in place from gray shale and sandstone bedrock. They are strongly acid due to the sandstone parent material and have low to moderate fertility. The soils are permeable, with rapid internal drainage, and are unsuited for on-site sewage disposal, since water passes through the field too quickly for the soil to absorb and filter the effluent. The steeper areas are severely susceptible to erosion once the tree cover has been removed.

Vegetation Fallingwater is located within the Northeastern deciduous forest biome where the abundant rainfall of the temperate climate, well distributed throughout four seasons, allows a tall, predominantly broadleaf forest to develop. Two forest types are characteristic of this region-the Appalachian Oak Forest, typical of most of southern and central Pennsylvania and the Mesophytic Forest, typical of a small portion of southwestern Pennsylvania and most of West Virginia. Fayette County in Pennsylvania is at the interface of

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 26

Geology & Physiography

Pennsylvanian period Peg

Conemaugh Group. Glenshaw formation


Pottsville/Allegheny Group. Allegheny fonnation


PousvilJelAliegheny Group, Pottsville fonnation

Physiography Legend (right! Pia/au









Geology map from Geologic Map a/Pennsylvania, 1980, PA DER Physiography map by Andropogon Associates, Ud.; tWtrlay on USGS Mill Run quadrangle

An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

both forest types. The Mesophytic Forest is the richest and most diverse forest type of the northeastern deciduous forest region. The Youghiogheny River Valley, with its varied topography, provides a wide variety of habitats which also encourage a wealth of plant and animal species. The vegetation at Fallingwater appears to be a typical successional Mesophytic Forest which would not have the same species diversity as the mature forest.

Historic Vegetation The Native Americans of the area, who managed the forest before European settlement, kept the continuous forest cover largely intact. From the mid 19th century to the present, when increasing numbers of settlers finally were able to colonize and exploit this isolated mountainous area, the almost unbroken and largely undisturbed forest was then radically altered. Ridges and broad valley slopes were logged and farmed, while the stream valleys were used as transportation corridors, particularly by the railroads which brought raw materials to the mills of Pittsburgh. The steep slopes and deep stream gorges largely unusable for agriculture or industry because of their inaccessibility, became, at the turn of the twentieth century, the scenic remnants of a dramatic terrain and majestic old growth forest.

A photograph of the Stone Cottage in the 1920s shows young canopy trees, almost no understory and shrub layer, and a mostly fern groundlayer characteristic of an early successional forest just returning to a cutover site. FW Archives

Even at the beginning of the twentieth century much of the Youghiogheny forest was extraordinarily rich in species. Botanists convening for an Ohiopyle symposium in 1905 marveled at the abundance and variety of herbaceous species covering the forest floor. Dozens of species of wildflowers, ferns and mushrooms formed a living tapestry that reflected the complexity of the old growth forest community. Sadly, much of this spectacularly beautiful area, including Fallingwater, was logged, in some cases several times, by 1913. Fallingwater was also high graded in the early 1960s, removing many of the remaining large, old forest canopy trees on the upper slopes. White-tailed deer have had a significant impact on the forests of the region, with the nearby Allegheny Forest suffering substantial species reduction due to heavy deer browsing. Ironically, by the early 1900s, the white-tailed deer population of Pennsylvania was devastated by uncontrolled hunting. With the creation of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the reintroduction of white-tailed deer and new hunting regulations, deer herds recovered. By the 1980s, deer popUlation had risen to record numbers and studies showed serious forest impacts. Much of the typical shrub and herbaceous layers had been eliminated. There was little new tree reproduction and much damage to trunks and branches of older trees. While there is little evidence of heavy deer browse at Fallingwater today, deer may become a problem in the near future and should be monitored carefully. As rhododendrons are a favorite deer food, the aesthetic impact of deer browse to this site would be severe.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater " 27

Potential Vegetation

understory layer - ~ shrub layer

~leJ,i~round layer ~""''''''''''''''''''''''''''');;~ .

Forest Layers Restoration of the natural forest and design of the forest garden should be developed using the forest layer structure as a model.

The vegetation of Fallingwater is described in this report by plant community type. This rich Appalachian forest has five distinct layers--canopy, understory, high shrub, low shrub and herbaceous layers. Individual species are identified by layer within each plant community type. (The herbaceous layer has not been included here, as the lists would be too long.) Plant community type describes the relationships between plant and plant and between plant and place. Plants, like people, live and develop as communities with characteristic companions. These communities can be described as "a distinctive group of plant species which may be expected to grow naturally together in more or less the same population proportions under similar habitat conditions." (Beryl Robichaud and Murray Buell, Vegetation of New Jersey) . The varied topography of the Fallingwater site provides a number of landforms-ridges, plateaus, steep slopes, shallow slopes, steep stream valleys and gentler, shallower stream valleys. This local variation in topography as well as local variations in micro-climate and soils creates a wide variety of habitats which govern the different plant community types. The present forest, which has been quarried, mined, and clear cut several times, has lost the easily recognizable plant communities of the old growth forest. The plant communities suggested on the following page are a composite from several sources-lists from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Penn State Studies on adjacent second growth and old growth forests, and on-site observation. These suggested plant communities and habitats will give the Conservancy staff at Fallingwater and the Landscape Advisors the tools to reinforce historical plant community patterns. It can also direct planting at Fallingwater so that it harmonizes with and enhances the organization of the natural vegetation of the site.

Understory and shrubs sealing edge

Southjacing Woodland Edge The main visitor parking could be replanted using the forest layer structure as a model.

The Present Forest-Impacts and Trends Over the years first the Kaufmanns and then the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy have continually acquired new properties to enlarge the boundaries of Bear Run Nature Reserve, until today the Conservancy Owns almost the entire watershed, protecting it from development and allowing it to return to forest. As a result, the forest surrounding Fallingwater and within the Bear Run Nature Reserve is healthier today than it was at the turn of the century. However, despite the years of protection and forest regrowth, the present-day forest is much changed from pre-settlement forests of the area and even the forest described by early 20th century botanists. In addition to the wholesale removal of trees and severe disturbance of the ground through mining, logging and farming, other important local, regional and even global impacts have affected these An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fa/lingwater " 28

forests. These impacts include global warming, atmospheric pollutants, forest fragmentation , exotic pest devastations, invasive exotic plant and animal species, the loss of predators, the overabundance of some native plant and animal species, and the loss or disruption of historical ecological processes such as fire. Today, forest trees are smaller, plant and animal species composition are significantly altered, and characteristic native species are reduced or absent. For example, the American chestnut has disappeared and the herbaceous layer, in particular, has been severely impoverished and much reduced in its extent, and forest soils have been significantly altered both chemically and in the composition of forest soil microorganisms.

Deciduous canopy trees, understory and shrub layer on south fac ing slope above the house at Fallingwater

Fallingwater and the Bear Run Nature Reserve have been largely protected from recent disturbance through the land acquisition efforts of the Conservancy. At present at this property, there are not many sites that invite colonization by aggressive non-native plants . Nonetheless, great care should be taken to insure that no invasive exotic species (plants or animals) are introduced purposefully-as part of the design of new facilities or the retrofit of existing ones-{)r inadvertently, through uncontrolled and unremoved disturbance.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 29

Site Plant Communities



c,\O'O.~ o,\~

1\/~(!. ~o~~

acidic soils. The north-facing slopes are generally cooler and more mesic than the south-facing slopes. Northfacing slopes have an evergreen component in both the canopy and understory layers that is normally absent on south-facing slopes. Eastand west-facing slopes tend to share characteristics found on both slopes. Due to logging at the tum of the cenUpland: Plateaus and Ridges tury, the present slope forests are sucHistorically, this forest was the most cessional with a high d iversity of developed part of the landscape. In species. As a result of planting by the the past two centuries, it was cut Kaufmanns, rhododendron are natuover repeatedly for logging. mining ralizing throughout the south-facing and farming. According to the West- slope near the house. ern Pennsylvania Conservancy, the entire site was logged in 1903 and 0""", high-graded in 1956. Disease and Whiteoak pests have also affected the forest. Red oak Black oak American chestnuts, once the preScarlet oak dominant canopy species, were Shagbark hickory nearly wiped out by the chestnut Pignut hickory blight in the 1920s. Recent gypsy Sugar maple moth infestations have reduced the American beech number of mature oaks. As a result, Tulip poplar forest character and species compo- White ash sition have chan ged dramatically. Cucumber magnolia This forme r oak-chestnut forest is Eastern hemlock now characterized by serond and Ye][owbirch third-growth oak and maple. Undn-story Omupy Northern red oa k Black oak Scarlet oak White oak Chestnut oak Red maple White pine (occasional)


~o.~ ~'l.

Undrntory Black cherry Sassafras


Flowering dogwood Shrub Witch hazel Maple-leaf viburnum Spicebush

Upper Stream Valley

Mountain laurel Low-bush Blueberry



Canopy Whiteoak Tulip poplar

White ash Red maple Sugar maple Black gum Eastern hemlock

American basswood Cucumber magnolia American beech Undn-story

Ironwood Witch hazel Shrub

Arrowwood Spicebush

Lower Stream Valley This bottomland below the falls is characterized by more deeply cut ravines which create a moister, cooler microclimate with fewer spedes than the upper stream valley. As described by Braun. the historical vegetation, confined to these deep sandstone gorges, includes evergreens in every forest layer - hemlocks in the canopy; ericaceous species in the shrub layer and evergreen ferns in the herbaceous layer. 0""", Eastern hemlock

American beech Cucumber magnolia Red maple



Sweet birch Black cherry

elm due to Dutch Elm disease has changed species dynamics and forest character.

",."be"), Slope Forests These forests occur on sloped terrain and are generally dry to mesic, with

This bottomland is characterized by the gentler topography above the falls, with rich, moderately welldrained soils. The forest of this valley, with its occasional small floodplains, is rich in deciduous species and especiaJly d iverse in the herbaceous layer. Loss of the American

Undn-story Yellow birch Shrub


An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

~ultural History: ~hanging Attitudes toward

the landscape

he Cultural Inventory which follows is divided into the five periods which correspond with major changes on the Bear Run site. These five periods, which mirror significant phases in the evolving American attitudes about the landscape, are:


I. Bear Run before 1900 2. 1900s-1930s: Wilderness CampNacation Club at Bear Run 3. 1930s-1960s: Frank Lloyd Wright's Country House for the Kaufmanns 4. 1960s-1970s: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 5. 1980s-Present: Fallingwater Today The giants of American culture, whether artists, architects, cinematographers, or writers, have found in nature a central protagonist that is as real and vital a force as any hero or villain. For James Fenimore Cooper, the dark wilderness of the East Coast formed the setting of the Leatherstocking saga of the pre-Revolutionary skirmishes. Herman Melville's demonic whale in a boundless ocean is the centerpiece of Moby Dick. Monument Valley frames John Ford's heroic westerns. Nature is the subject of the Hudson River school of painters, and later of such realists as Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer, as well as modernists such as John Marin and Marsden Hartley. Half a century earlier, in the early nineteenth century, nature was the foundation of Ralph Waldo Emerson's transcendentalism. For some, it was feared as untrammeled wilderness, for others, it was perceived as a reflection of a new world that might herald the Second Coming. Nature was also celebrated by those who saw the land as a reflection of national power, and eventually mourned by those who recognized its loss.

George Hetzel, "Rocky Gorge," 1869

The love of unspoiled wilderness ties together Americans of many different eras. In the nineteenth century, it was explored by Lewis and Clark, and recorded by artists such as Asher Durand, and the Hudson River School, and later English-born Thomas Cole, who sought to record the vanishing eastern wilderness. Particularly important is Cole's 1835 "Essay on American Scenery" that presents his nostalgic but accurate intention to record the wilderness that he recognized as already disappearing from the western world. He pointedly contrasts the American natural setting with the owned, fenced , shaped, de-natured world that he knew from his youth in Europe: "And to this cultivated state our western world isfast approaching; but nature is still predominant, and there are those who regret that with the improvements of cultivation the sublimity of the wilderness should pass away.. . "

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 30

"By the middle decades of the (19th) century spreading railways and growing cities were

bringing more and more visitors to ... wild country all over America. Its apparently inexhaustible wealth of wild landscape was accepted as one of ..

(America's) chief glories; so was the role of this landscape as a source of cleansing, refreshment, and spiritual recharging Jor tired city dwellers." Edgar Kaufmann, jr., Fallingwater

Cole's writing was grounded in eighteenth-century aesthetic theory, linking ideas of the picturesque to specific landscape features. Of these, the most important was water: waterfalls, from the mighty Niagara to local cataracts, were considered subjects of scenic interest, being called out in guides as features for viewing. On the eastern side of Pennsylvania, the Sawkill, the Raymondskill, and the Ressica Falls were cited by W. H. Rideing for his essay on the upper Delaware River valley in the Centennial-era luxury publication Picturesque America. The social/political counterpart to the role of the landscape as protagonist was stated by Frederick Jackson Turner in his 1893 address to the American Historical Association, "The Frontier in American History. " He analyzed the role of the idea of the frontier; that is, the place where civilization ends and nature begins as a shaping factor of the American character. These and related ideas are the foundations of our culture of individualism. Nineteenth-century "nature" writers such as Henry David Thoreau and George Billings Marsh, the father of ecology, were followed by naturalist John Burroughs, the popularizer Ernest Seton Thompson and others who conveyed their love of nature to the broader pUblic. After the Civil War, their themes were picked up and carried forward by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Jens Jensen, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, poet Robert Frost, and scientist Aldo Leopold, creator of the "land ethic." With the end of the Civil War, the economic machinery of this vast country, by then settled from coast to coast, was geared up to fully exploit the natural resources of the continent. As the Industrial Revolution went into its second phase, men and women worked harder in polluted cities and dirty factories. Factory owners, obsessed with production and making money, also put in long hours. By the 1870s, the idea of "vacation" became a counterpoint to all-consuming work for many of these industrialists in the north. In paintings and drawings by Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer, the theme of man in nature is usually removed to the distant settings of the West, to the swamps of Florida, and to the wilderness of Maine, all settings of the contemporary literature of the out-of-doors. The subject of distance and tragic loss continues today in the work of Neil Welliver and others. These masterworks were paralleled by the engravings and sketches of well-known illustrators whose works appeared in the articles in Scribners, Atlantic, and Harpers, including A.B. Frost, N.C. Wyeth, and others. Their images brought the idea of sport to a larger populace and encouraged the spread of sporting activities into the middle and working classes. Going back to roots in England, even in the hard-working culture of the American colonies and late the new nation, there had always been a subgroup of anglers, and an equally important competing group of market fishermen. It was in the Centennial era that it became fashionable for An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater


"sport gentlemen" to go to anyone of a number of resorts and camps that were built to provide hunting and fishing experiences. The weeks in the "wilderness" at camps and lodges, many of them luxurious, became the device by which these men, and occasionally their wives and families, re-engaged themselves with nature.

I will now speak ofanother component of scenery, without which every landscape is defective -it is water. Like the eye in the human countenance, it is a most expressive feature: in the unrippled lake, which mirrors all surrounding objects, we have the expression of tranquility and peace - in the rapid stream, the headlong cataract, that of turbulence and impetuosity, in this element of scenery, what land is so rich?

Thomas Cole, "Essay on American Scenery" 1835

Much of this movement may have been initiated by aging Civil War veterans who sought to recreate their military camp experience by returning to the field to do battle with fish and game. By the 1870s, the pages of Scribners, Harpers, and other national magazines were filled with stories and illustrations of fishing camps where groups of men sat around campfires and relived the day's activities - as many of them had done in uniform more than a decade before. These magazines were soon followed by more specialized publications that focused on the hunter or the excursionist, Field and Stream and Outing Magazine being among the better known of the type.

In the early twentieth century these wilderness experiences, now available to the middle classes, began to diminish in quality. Much of the game and the fish that these men came to enjoy and to exploit were no longer plentiful. By the early 1900s, both the white-tailed deer and the native brook trout had all but vanished from Pennsylvania's forests and streams. Simultaneously, Pennsylvania and other states began to propagate trout in hatcheries; these were then stocked in streams that no longer supported naturally sustaining popUlations, providing the illusion that the waters were still pure, that the wilderness experience was available to every man and not just to the few who could afford a distant trip to the back countries of Maine, Canada, or the West.

1. Bear Run-before 1900 Pennsylvania's rich coal deposits, old growth forests, and fertile soils in the southwestern regions of the state were explOited well into the twentieth century. This work was not an enhancement to the scenery. Farming, logging and mining reduced much of the native forest to bare eroded hills, gouged holes in the hillsides, and polluted streams; still, the idea of the picturesque countryside continued to lure city dwellers eager to renew themselves in the fresh country air. After the Civil War, many narrow-gauge logging railroads, including the line that connected to the Bear Run Valley, criss-crossed valleys bringing timber to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Passenger trains were sometimes associated with these railroads, but the railways were largely for the convenience of the logging operation. Still, they were often the lifelines for other activities in the region. Using the railroads and roads built to transport goods, adventurous vacationers could reach this previously inaccessible landscape. In the late 1800s, one of the consequences of the national boom in fishing camps and vacation

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater



houses was the purchase of Bear Run by a group of Masons from Pittsburgh. Probably attracted by the stream with its dramatic rock outcroppings, pools, and waterfalls, they acquired 135 acres from settlers who lived on the land after its timber had been cut and sold. The Masons built a Masonic Country Club on the site and eventually acquired about 1,500 more acres, providing the experience of the wilderness for their largely middle class membership. Accessible by a two-hour train ride from Pittsburgh, the wilderness of Bear Run offered a range of sporting and recreational activities. The ride through the Youghiogheny Valley provided a spectacular finale to the train trip. A dirt carriage road brought visitors to the site from the train station just above the banks of the Youghiogheny River. In their purchase of the Bear Run property, the Masons were like many other fraternal, religious, and social organizations that purchased land to provide their membership with the benefits heretofore reserved for wealthy individuals. Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard was developed by Baptists before the Civil War; Ocean Grove, NJ was the product of Methodists in the 1870s. In the same decade, Presbyterians developed Cape May Point's "Sea Grove," and west of Philadelphia, urban Methodists developed the camp meeting village of Chester Heights. This camp lacked such amenities as swimming and fishing because it had no stream, but it at least offered open space and the cool of the forest. The democratization of recreation that characterizes the late twentieth century United States was underway.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape ofFallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 33

2. Wilderness Camp / Vacation Club at Bear Run: 1909-1930 In 1909 the club was purchased by a second group of Masons from Pittsburgh who formed the Syria Improvement Association. Several years later, this wilderness camp known as the Syria Country Club, drew Edgar Kaufmann, sr. and his new wife Liliane, as visitors. In 19 16 Edgar Kaufmann leased the Syria Country Club and established Kaufmann's Summer Club, a camp for the women employees of the Kauffman department store in downtown Pittsburgh. The creation of resorts for workers in department stores and other large businesses has a parallel in the Island Heights, NJ camp that was founded by John Wanamaker around 1908. It provided summer vacations in a camp-like atmosphere for the boys and girls and young men and women of the store staff.

"Back to Nature" cottages, part of the fanner Summer Club on the Bear Run property. FW Archives

In 1921 the Kaufmanns built their first weekend retreat on the site, a pre-cut, ready-to-assemble cabin, near the present entrance off Route 381. In 1926 the store employees' association bought the Bear Run Property of approximately 600 acres, with Edgar Kaufmann holding the mortgage. The site plan that follows shows more than thirty buildings on the site-a great number of small cabins and support facilities for summer camp life. The facilities included a dance pavilion, stable, carriage shed, workshops, several bams, an ice house and fish hatchery-suggesting that already the region needed the augmentation of modem technology to produce sport. Buildings were sited in three main locatious: along the flat areas beside the Bear Run Stream; above the stream On the long ridge in the center of the site; and at the upper part of the ridge near the present entrance off Route 381. Fragments of the early 1900s roads are still in use today. The buildings on the ridge encircled a dirt camp road, remnauts of which remain as the present service road (Shady Lane) and the return pedestrian path from the house to the parking lot. The camp road provided access to the Porter cottage (later the site of the guest house) and continued west to a small mining operation on the property. Shorter roads connected the camp loop to entry points at the Tissue Farm, at the B&O Railroad Station, and to the future Township Road (now Route 38 I).

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater ." 34

Wilderness Camp/Vacation Club at Bear Run 19005 - -19305

OJ 'I'''ny

4. The FaUsa, &ar Rim, circa 1912 (S4mud Sl~rl posl(tlfdJ



Soun:e; 1913 Survey, Investment LAnd

Company, William Bradford. Engineer. Ear]

Friend and by Goldie Tissue Hay on 1960's WPC FaUingwater Plan

• 'i




Sour.:~: USGS Mill Run Qulldnnglr Property bou nduiH ·1913 su rvey, Investment Land Compilny, Willi~m Bradford. Engineer



An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

3. Frank Lloyd Wright's Country House for the Kaufmanns During the Depression, the luxury of a private camp could not be supported by the workers. Edgar Kaufmann had considered buying the camp at Bear Run as early as 1920, but his negotiations did not bear fruit until 1933, when he bought the camp and nearly 1,600 acres of land from the store employees. From early on he was interested in acquiring the entire watershed to protect the property from trespassers, and the stream from acid mine drainage and logging-related sedimentation. By the beginning of the Great Depression, successional forest had reclaimed much of the open hillsides and many of the scars in the landscape slowly healed. While working farms still existed, most logging and mining had ceased within the watershed. Throughout the 1930s, Kaufmann acquired more land (failed farms and abandoned mining enterprises) to protect the Bear Run watershed and initiated efforts to restore the land. Guided by the District Forester, Y.M. Bearer, he replaced blighted American chestnut trees with large monospecific "plantations" of Norway spruce, which remain on the property to this day. Of note is his request that the harvested chestnuts, widely known to be rot resistant, be made into split rail fences. These fences are perhaps the same fences identified as important components of the rural landscape that border the fields at the present Bear Run Nature Retreat (the former Kaufmann dairy bam). The regional setting changed as well. Small narrow gauge railroads gradually disappeared as the lumber and coal companies collapsed and automobiles began to bring most of the visitors from Pittsburgh, replacing the train. Newly paved roads, like Township Road, the present-day Route 381, were built to accommodate the new traffic. With the purchase of the camp by the Kaufmanns, the site was then transformed into the Kaufmann family country house where the experiences of these camps were translated into family rituals. As the wilderuess retreat became a private house, the cabins, stables, and dance pavilions of the previous era were mostly demolished. The Kaufmanns thought of this as their weekend retreat, a romantic house in the woods. Liliane Kaufmann remade the grassy areas on the open plateaus of a previous era into gardens for vegetables and flowers. The long flat floodplain in the stream valley east of the house, once the site of a number of facilities for the vacation club, now accommodated support facilities for the house. A swimming pool was built at Bear Run upstream from the house, an orchard was planted, and a greenhouse and grape arbor were constructed to provide fresh produce. In the early 1930s Kaufmann gradually dismantled the summer cabins and began to consider building a new country house.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape ofFallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 35

Much of the old camp road system was retained, with modifications to accommodate the changes of use. A turnaround was built in front of the new house. The western part of the camp circle was gradually abandoned by all but farm vehicles. At the southernmost entrance to the property (now the main entrance) a smoother transition to the driveway was made to connect vehicles to a shop and miner's cottage (the site of the present maintenance area). At the urging of his son Edgar jr., who had worked in Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Fellowship and who was impressed with his genius, Edgar Kaufmann asked Wright to design a country house at Bear Run. The result of their collaboration-Fallingwater-is one of the most significant American houses ever built, capturing a unique vision of the modern era and of an individual and democratic lifestyle. In building the Kaufmann's summer house, Frank Lloyd Wright realized the dream of every trout fisherman and built Fallingwater with a trout stream running through it-making the stream with its pristine water and wonderful pools a part of the house. But he also solved the usual problems of a private resort, providing plans for the additional structures that made it possible to separate services from the main house and to give guests their own privacy. The new weekend retreat or summer house enclave included guest quarters, a garage with a few outbuildings, and garden features, as needed, to support the family when in residence. Most buildings are merely set in the landscape, some are sited well and seem to belong to the landscape; some are sited poorly, violating the order and forms of a place. Others, like Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamps, provide a dramatic counterpart to their settings. The house and guest house at Fallingwater are startling bUildings, even today, because they are completely different from traditional models. The buildings are an integral part of the surrounding stream, waterfall, rock cliff, and forest. Fallingwater reveals and dramatizes the forms and functions of the place using the vocabulary of modern architecture with the fluid structure and connecting patterns of nature.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 36

Frank Lloyd Wright's Country Housefor the Kaufman ns 19305 - 19605

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An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

4. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: 1960s-1970s Mrs. Kaufmann died in 1953 and Mr. Kaufmann died two years later in 1955. In 1963 Edgar Kaufmann, jr. entrusted the care of Fallingwater, along with 1,500 acres in the Bear Run Valley, to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The Kaufmanns' grounds staff were kept on through the public transition and Edgar, jr. was an active participant in decision making about the property. "Finally, why are these acres and this house given as a conservation, in the care of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy? Because conservation is not preservation: preservation is stopping life to serve a future contingency; conservation is keeping life going. The union of . powerful art and powerful nature into something beyond the sum oftheir separate powers deserves to be kept living. As the waterfall of Bear Run needed the house to enter the realm of art, so the joint work of art, Fallingwater, in its setting, needs the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to enter a new life of public service."

The era of "public service" begins at this time. At the broad scale of the Bear Run Nature Reserve, the Conservancy continued the Kaufmann's policy of purchasing land in order to protect the entire Bear Run watershed. For the Fallingwater site itself, this was a time of exploration with no fonnal plan or set interpretive program. Basic facilities were introduced to accommodate the needs of public visitors. A single large parking lot was built on the flat nose of the ridge where Liliane Kaufmann kept vegetable gardens. A small reception center and kitchen was created in the fonner gardener's cottage. In 1968 the Kaufmann dairy barn was converted to the Bear Run Nature Center and a nature education program developed. The beginning of the driveway was divided into an entrance and exit road with a large forested median. Despite these institutional changes, the site still reflected its original private use and no one anticipated the impacts on the building and the site that Fallingwater's increasing popularity would bring.

Edgar Kaufmann, jr. Speech of Ceremony of Transmission, 1963

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 37

Wes tern Pennsylvania Conservancy 19605- -19705


(1) Sluzsiy Lant


''''' 2. House 1962 (Poul Maybl )


3. Guest House and Pool 1963 (FW Archives)




E9 An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater

5. Present: Fallingwater Today: 19805Nearly 20.000 people visited the property during the first year FaIlingwater was officially opened for public tours. Visitorship increased steadily over the next two decades, with a nearly a 15% increase in numbers in 1988 when grounds ticket sales began. By 1994 visitorship had reached a peak of 145,000. The Conservancy, concerned about visitor impacts to the house, decided to increase admission prices, reduce tour sizes, and set limits on daily house visitation. Edgar Kaufmann, jr. had suggested that 70,000 visitors in an eight month season was as much as the house could accommodate. In the opening years of this period Edgar Kaufmann, jr. continued to be involved with the operation of FaIIingwater. To accommodate ever increasing visitorship, additional visitor support facilities were added. The Edgar J. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation, founded in 1953 by Edgar Kaufmann, sr. provided the money for a visitor pavilion. The pavilion was built in 1979 but was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt in 1980. Originally intended as exhibit space, it gradually expanded to include a cafe, a child care center and a museum shop. The pavilion was designed by Paul Mayen as an open structure set several feet above the ground, with a central space and octagonal bays attached to building so that it appears to float in the surrounding woods. In 1980 the parking area was enlarged. Several new visitor pathways were built to connect the pavilion to the driveway, including the boardwalk and the return path. Simple dark signs with white lettering were added to direct visitors. In 1989 the main parking lot was again enlarged and an additional small parking lot was added above. Benches were added along the driveway. A nature trail was created in 1991 in the area around the pavilion to provide visitors with an activity while they were waiting for the house tOUf. Other trails were proposed including a trail to the falls as an alternative to the existing slippery steps and a nature trail along Bear Run Creek down to the Youghiogheny River. Recently, an overflow parking area was developed by reinforcing the grass in the open meadow between the entrance and exit roads and a new gate was designed and built to secure the site.

In 1986 a summer landscape intern program was started to bring students to FaIIingwater for specific projects. Anne Saxman coordinated the program and George Longenecker, Professor of Landscape Architecture at West Virginia University, was the advisor. George Longenecker continues to advise this program today. In 1989 the interns designed and built a falls overlook to accommodate visitors who wanted a view of the house. This heavily impacted area has already been repaired several times. The landscape interns also designed and installed lighting on the return path from the house.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 38

National and international recognition of the importance of the site has raised serious questions about the conditions of the buildings and the landscape, the qualities of the interventions, and the ability of this private residence and its landscape to accommodate all those who wish to enjoy it. There is general acknowledgment amongst all those concerned that the buildings and landscape of Fallingwater will need to be repaired, restored, and maintained if they are to remain for future generations.

An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 39

Fallingwater Today 19805 - Present

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An Interpretation and Management Plan fOr the Landscape of Fallingwater


Atwood, Karen Hoffman. "Acid Rain: Now a Matter of Legislation." Pennsylvania Wildlife, Vol. IX, No.4. 1988. pp. 23-34. Beeby, Thomas. "Wright and Landscape: A Mythical Interpretation." In The Nature of Frank Lloyd Wright, Edited by Carol R. Bolon, Robert S. Nelson, and Linda Seidel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1987. Birnbaum, Charles A. "Protecting Cultural Landscapes: Planning, Treatment and Mangement of Historic Landscapes." From Preservations Briefs, Distributed by U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1995. Braun, E. Lucy. Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America. New York: ing Co. 1964.

Hafner Publish-

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Howe, Marshall Avery. "The Botanical Symposium at Ohio Pyle, Pennsylvania." Torreya, A Monthly Journal of Botanical Notes and News. Vol V. 1905. Johns, Elizabeth. Thomas Eakins: The Heroism of Modern Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1983. Kaufmann, Edgar, Jr. Fallingwater: A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers. 1986. Kaufmann, Edgar, Jr. Transcript of Videotaped Tour Introduction at Fallingwater. April 1985. Kline, Benjamin EG., Jr. Stemwinders in the Laurel Highlands: The Logging Railroads of SouthWestern Pennsylvania. 1973. Lewis, John E Guide to Plants, Bear Run Nature Preserve. Pittsburg: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. 1968. Marquis, David A. and Brenneman, Ronnie. The Impact of Deer on Forest Pennsylvania, General Technical Report NE-65. USDA Forest Service. 1981.

Vegetation in

Marquis, David A. The Allegheny Hardwood Forests of Pennsylvania, General Technical Report NE-I5. USDA Forest Service. 1975. McCarter, Robert. Fallingwater-Frank Lloyd Wright. London: Phaedon Press Limited. 1994. McCoubrey, John W. The American Tradition in Painting. New York. 1963. McCoubrey, John W, ed. Sources and Documents of ArtiAmericanArt 1700-1960. Dover. 1965. McElroy, Thomas. Groundwater Resources of Fayette County, Water Resource Report 60. Pennsylvania Geological Survey, Fourth Series. Harrisburg. 1988. Minks, Louise. The Hudson River School. New York: Cresent Books. 1989. Mitchell, Nora J. And Lacy, Katherine T. "Cultural Landscape: Reading Stories Written on the Land." History News, The American Association for State and Local History. Vol. 52, No.3. Summer 1977. Oppen, Frank, ed. Fishing in North America. Castle Publishers. 1986. Rhoads, Ann Fowler and Klein, William McKinley, Jr. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. 1993. Sauer, Leslie. "Impacts of Nitrogen Deposition and the Implication for Soil Management." Summary of Presentation to Society of Ecological Restoration! Millersville Native Plant Conference. June 24, 1995. An Interpretation and Management Plan for the Landscape of Fallingwater â&#x20AC;˘ 2


Scully, Vincent, Jr. Frank Lloyd Wright. New York: George Braziller. 1960. Soil Survey of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. USDA Soil Conservation Service. 1973. Swain, William. From Letter to Carol Franklin. October 12, 1996. Tafel, Edgar. Apprentice to Genius: Years with Frank Lloyd Wright. New York: Dover Press. 1985. Torrey Botanical Club. "Field Trip Reports." Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. Vol. 90, No. 5. Sept-Oct 1963. pp. 357-358. Turner, Frederick Jackson. 1893 address in "The Frontier in American History." Report of the American Historical Associationfor 1893. Republished by University of Arizona Press, Tucson 1986. pp. 199-227. U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service. Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Rural Historic Landscape. National Register Bulletin Number 30. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service and Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Department. Youghiogheny Wild and Scenic River Study. May 1978. VanTrump, James and Ziegler, Arthur. Landmark Architecture of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh. 1967. Weeders, The. "Invasive Exotic Plants of the Mid-Atlantic." The Garden Clubs of America Zone U Meeting. October 1966. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Board of Directors. Fallingwater Mission Statement. September 1990. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Mission Statement. 1966. Whipkey, Paul. Forbes State Forester. Letter to Andropogon Associates, Ltd. August 1966. Woods, Thomas A. "Nature Within History: Using Environmental History to Interpret Historic Sites." History News, The American Association for State & Local History. Vol. 52, No.3, Summer 1977.

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Interpretation and management plan fallingwater  
Interpretation and management plan fallingwater