The Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House sets on five – foot – high risers. On 9/14 it was under water. The Fox River near Chicago has risen two feet above that.
The director of the historic site says “It’s gut – wrenching. You have to come to terms with the fact that Mother Nature will always win in a power struggle.”
“It’s an absolutely devastating scene,” said James Peters, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois, which manages and operates the house for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement today. “At this point, we are fairly confident the 2008 tour season, which was scheduled to extend through November, is over.” Now the nonprofit will have to raise money to repair the steel-and-glass Farnsworth House.
On Saturday, Landmarks Illinois volunteers paddled boats to the house to helped raise the furniture out of harm’s way. The Fox River has also flooded three nearby bridges and many houses.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation bought the 1951 house at auction for $7.5 million in 2003.
“Weather-based damage and destruction of older and historic sites is a national issue, and in the case of the flooding of Farnsworth House, which we saved with our partner, Landmarks Illinois, it is also a personal one,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement today. “Our principal concern is for the safety and welfare of members of the public directly impacted by the storms.”
Mies designed it to let flood waters run underneath, but in sixty years it has been flooded six times, including half a million dollars damage in 1966. Time to jack it up?