Usonia, New York
FEATURE STORIES, ILLUSTRATED WITH
early houses, appeared in Architectural Forum, House and
THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT SITE PLAN
well as other local and national papers. The returns from a
AND PHOTOS OF EARLY HOUSES,
Hardly the most prominent, but the most remem-
Garden, the New York Times, and the Herald Tribune as clipping service soon filled a scrapbook.
APPEARED IN ARCHITECTURAL FORUM,
bered story was an article in the newspaper PM on April
HOUSE AND GARDEN, THE NEW YORK
paper aimed at a more serious reader than the popular
TIMES, AND THE HERALD TRIBUNE.
a number of meetings with applicants, several of whom
, . PM was a liberal-leaning New York afternoon tabloids. The article resulted in five hundred inquiries and became members of Usonia.
dentist, and his wife Charlotte; and Irwin Auerbach, an auditor, and his wife Ottalie.
THE CHUCKROW REPORT
Efforts to attract new members continued and
Even as new members were recruited and new houses
several joined, but between and , Roland Reisley,
were planned, cost overruns became a serious issue. Late
the author of this book and then a physicist, and his wife
in , Usonia’s builder, Robert Chuckrow, submitted a
Ronny, a psychologist, were the only permanent new
comprehensive report regarding building progress to that
point and suggested future improvements. Chuckrow had hoped to build the first ten to fifteen houses as a group to
SEEKING NEW MEMBERS
achieve some economy of scale. But he found this was not
While the board focused on building and seeking finance
to be. He had to deal with the Design Panel, the architects,
during and , other members selected and worked
the intensely concerned owners, and activist board and
with their architects, and everyone was concerned with the
committee members. All had forged enthusiastically into
need to enroll additional members. Visitors to the land
were almost always invited to explore membership. Press releases added to the considerable media attention.
Chuckrow noted that during this period “many troubles” had been endured and overcome. The cost of
Publicity for Usonia was greatly enhanced when,
materials, especially masonry materials, steel and rough
in January , Edward Serlin became a member. Serlin
hardware, plumbing, and heating supplies had increased
was the director of publicity for Radio City Music Hall
since inception, while the cost of lumber had decreased.
and promptly assumed that task for Usonia as well. Soon
Chuckrow called supervision a “confusing” mat-
stories about Usonia began appearing in newspapers and
ter probably not “understood by all parties.” He especially
magazines all over the country. Feature stories, illustrated
pleaded with architects to spend more time “preparing
with the Frank Lloyd Wright site plan and photos of
complete and accurate drawings.” All of the first five houses THE NEW YORK TIMES DESCRIBED UNUSUAL FEATURES, INCLUDING RADIANT HEATING, OF USONIAN HOMES NEARING COMPLETION.
NEW YORK TIMES
Published on Oct 20, 2011
Usonia, New York is the story of a group of idealistic men and women who, following WWII, enlisted Frank Lloyd Wright to design and help the...