Iconic American homes

Travel Destinations — By on February 12, 2010 at 7:20 am

If you enjoy architecture or historic homes, then you’ll appreciate this recent feature on HGTV’s FrontDoor website about 10 of the most iconic homes in the United States. Sure, the White House is there, but so are homes designed by Thomas Jefferson and Frank Lloyd Wright and such entertainer mansions as Graceland and Neverland. Here are a few of the selections:

Fallingwater– Built between 1936 and 1939, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece is one of the most famed creations of American architecture. Constructed atop a rushing waterfall, the home’s cantilevered balconies and rough-hewn stone materials offer a breathtaking organic interplay with the natural surroundings. Located about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in the Bear Run Nature Reserve, Fallingwater is now the only major Wright-designed house to open to the public with its furnishings, artwork and setting intact. The home has received 4 million visitors since opening its doors to the public in 1964.

San Francisco’s “Painted Ladies”– Between 1849 and 1915, about 48,000 Victorian-style homes were built in San Francisco to accommodate the city’s growing population. Adorned with bright colors to enhance their elaborate architectural details, these homes were first referred to as “Painted Ladies” in 1978 by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their book Painted Ladies: San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians. While thousands of these vibrant homes still grace the streets of San Francisco today, the six Painted Ladies on Steiner Street, bordering Alamo Square Park, are by far the most famous. Often referred to as “Postcard Row,” this line of homes standing in front of the San Francisco skyline has become a classic image of the city.

Monticello – Designed by founding father and Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson himself, Monticello is one of the most famous examples of neoclassical architecture in the United States, with its classic use of symmetry and stately brick exterior. Construction on the home began in 1769, although several of its most famous features were not added until later. The dramatic dome, for instance, was added in 1800 after Jefferson visited France and was influenced by architectural trends in Paris. The west front of Monticello has appeared on the nickel since 1938; however, the dome and west portico are not necessarily the “front” of the house. In Jefferson’s day, guests would enter through the East Front into the entrance hall, while the family would enter through the West Front into the parlor.

See the full story for the other seven iconic choices, many of which would make a nice addition to any travel itinerary or road trip.

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