Frank Lloyd Wright home to keep historic designation

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne City Council voted to keep the historic designation for a home designed by world-famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. It was a decision preservation organizations hoped for.

“His work is favored all over the world,” Indiana Landmarks Northeast Field Office Director Paul Hayden said. “You’re very fortunate to have one in Fort Wayne that is currently designated and protected and needs to stay that way for now and into the future.”

“We’re incredibly pleased that the council decided to keep this designation,” ARCH Executive Director Michael Galbraith said. “We think that protecting a priceless resource like a Frank Lloyd Wright house is really important to the future of Fort Wayne.”

However, it was not the outcome the home’s owner wanted. Richard Herber first went before council last week, explaining that he wanted the designation gone because it was making it hard to sell the house. He also told council members he didn’t like asking for permission to do anything to the house, although officials said he’s never filed the necessary paperwork to make any changes to the home. After the meeting last week, ARCH reached out to Herber to possibly buy the home and his response was not what they were expecting. He left a voicemail for the preservation group’s realtor asking for an odd amount, and form, of money.

“One hundred million Euros wired to his Swiss bank account,” ARCH Board of Directors President Karen Richards said.

It was a move that didn’t sit well with some council members.

“He had opportunities to sell it and actually mocked people for trying to buy it,” City Council President Russ Jehl said.

There are also certain criteria an applicant must meet to de-designate a home and officials said Herber didn’t meet those.

In the end his home and it’s uniqueness will be protected.

“He still retains the right to do anything he wants on the interior of the property but for exterior purposes he needs to work with the historic preservation commission in order to have any changes happen,” Galbraith said.

The home is located at 3901 N. Washington Road in Fort Wayne.

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