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Illinois Promotes Frank Lloyd Wright Ties with Statewide Trail

Sam Dunklau
NPR Illinois 91.9 FM
Illinois Office of Tourism Director Cory Jobe unveils official signage for the trail alongside Gov. Bruce Rauner at an event outside Springfield's Dana-Thomas House on May 8.

Illinois is promoting its ties to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. State tourism officials on Tuesday unveiled a self-guided trail linking more than a dozen Wright-designed homes.

The announcement was made at Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House. Wright was inspired by Japanese design and the Midwest’s flat landscape while designing it. It’s one of 13 homes he built in Illinois that are still open to the public.

Now, the homes stretching from Chicago to Springfield will be linked with signage and online maps on what’s being called the “Frank Lloyd Wright Trail.”

Republican state Representative Tim Butler of Springfield says it will increase tourism business in towns along the way.

“This is really gonna generate a positive economic impact, but really a greater awareness around Wright and the legacy that he’s left here in Illinois.”

Illinois Tourism Director Cory Jobe says few people realize Wright’s impact on the state.

“So it was time that we put our stamp on it, and we think the Frank Lloyd Wright trail will give us a chance to connect pretty familiar homes, but some not familiar sites that have recently opened to the public.”

The Frank Lloyd Trust says about 150,000 visitors toured his Illinois buildings last year. Official trail signs are slated to roll out later this summer.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.
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