59 mid century and modern historic house museums that you can visit

59 historic mid-century houses you can visit -- researched by retrorenovation.com


Gordon House FLW 1957 Silverton, OR Eugene O'Neill House 1937 Danville, CA Schindler House 1922 West Hollywood, CA Eames House 1949 Pacific Palisades, CA Stahl House 1959 Hollywood, CA Neutra VDL House 1933, Los Angeles, CA Hollyhock House FLW 1917 Los Angeles, CA Leo Carillo Ranch 1937 Carlsbad, CA Sinatra Twin Palms 1947 Palm Springs, CA Elvis’ Honeymoon House 1960 Palm Springs, CA Sunnylands 1966 Rancho Mirage, CA Clark Co. Museum Heritage Street Henderson, NV Morelli House 1959, Las Vegas, NV Taliesin West FLW 1939 Scottsdale, AZ Georgia O’Keefe Home/Studio renovated 1945, Abiquiu, NM Barton County Museum Lustron Home Great Bend, KS Allen-Lambe House FLW 1915 Wichita, KS LBJ Ranch Remodeled 1951 Stonewall, TX Wilson House 1959 Temple, TX 1950s All Electric House 1954 Shawnee, KS Winston Guest House 1982 Owatonna, MN Stockman House FLW 1908 Mason City, IA Taliesin 1911 FLW Spring Green, WI Murihead Farmhouse B&B FLW early 1950s Hampshire IL Fabyan Villa & Japanese Garden FLW 1907 Geneva, IL Dana-Thomas House FLW 1940 Springfield, IL Graceland remodeled 1957 Memphis, TN Rolling Meadows 1953 Ranch Replica Rolling Meadows, IL Farnsworth House 1951 Plano, IL Bradley House FLW 1900 Kankakee, IL Frank Lloyd Wright walking tour Oak Park, IL Robie House FLW 1910 Chicago, IL Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio 1889/1898 Chicago, IL Emil Bach House FLW 1910 Chicago, IL Miller House 1953 Columbus, IN Rosenbaum House FLW 1939 Florence, AL Alden B. Dow Home & Studio 1941 Midland, MI Saarinen House 1920s Bloomfield Hills, MI Dymaxion House 1946 Dearborn, MI Weltzheimer/Johnson House FLW 1948 Oberlin, OH Ohio Historical Society Lustron Home Columbus, Ohio Carl Sandburg Home 1838 Flat Rock, NC Kentuk Knob FLW 1956 Chalk Hill, PA Fallingwater FLW 1935 Mill Run, PA Martin House Complex FLW 1903-1905 Buffalo, NY Graycliff FLW 1926-1931 Derby, NY Shoe House 1948 York, PA Eisenhower National Historic Site 1950 Gettysburg, PA Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens remodeled 1955 Washington, DC Pope-Leighey House FLW 1940 Alexandria, VA Wharton Esherick Museum 1926 Malvern, PA Russel Wright’s Manitoga & Dragon Rock 1961 Garrison, NY Guest House, Field Farm 1960 Williamstown, MA Frelinghuysen Morris House 1930-1942, Lennox, MA Philip Johnson Glass House 1949 New Canaan, CT<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Louis Armstrong House Museum 1910 remodeled 1940s, Queens, NY Pollock/Krasner House & Study Center 1879 East Hampton, NY<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Gropius House 1938 Lincoln, MA Zimmerman House FLW 1950 Manchester, NH

Historic house museums aren’t just for Early American revolutionaries, pioneer settlers or Victorians any more. Yes, as appreciation for mid-20th century architecture has grown, so has the number of historic house museums. Kate and I have been working for several weeks to research and prepare what we believe is the first conclusive list of mid-century and modern historic house museums that you can visit and see. In the USA. In your Chevrolet, even.

Our list includes 59 mid century and modern house museums. A number of these are iconic, architect-designed “mid-century modern” masterpiece houses. But we also were somewhat liberal in including other early- and mid-20th historic houses that played key roles in the evolution of mid century residential architecture and the “modern” way we still live today. There are quite a few houses by Frank Lloyd Wright that fall into our “extremely influential” but not really “mid-century” category, for example.

Houses generally become “historic” for one of two reasons (or both): (1) Their architecture is special, or (2) Someone historic lived there. Reflecting this, the houses in our roundup are there for a variety of reasons — and we believe this diversity helps illuminate the story of mid-century America. In addition to the houses that are important examples of mid century and modern residential architecture, our list includes celebrity houses where Elvis, Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong lived… a number of “biographical” houses including from Russel Wright, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jackson Pollock and Louise Krasner… There are two presidential estates… and we dug and dug and dug to find two Lustron houses open to the public! We take the research all the way to one “post modern” house, a 1982 design by Frank Gehry. Don’t be harassing us, please, if you don’t like the way we sliced and diced the list; be nice; we were trying to show the love for 20th century modern and modern-esque houses that haven’t quite made it onto others’ formal lists yet. Also, we started to get cross-eyed after a while of hashing what’s “in” the list and “what’s out”. We kinda wanted to be done already.

Readers, did we miss any mid century or modern historic house museums?
If so, please let us know!

In all cases, the houses had to be open for tours. Some are open all the time. Some require reservations. So call ahead. Our map is interactive — hover over any of the dots to see the name and year of the house. Click on the dot to get to either the house’s website or, if we’ve written about the house, the link will take you to our story. With our stories, we always try to get lots of great photos — more than you are likely to see on the house’s website.

Read all our spotlight stories
with lots of “bonus” photos you won’t find on the house websites
by clicking here.
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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the list of historic homes open to the public, I am going to tour the Zimmerman house in Manchester NH this Thursday.
    Seriously? I am going to be inside a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

  2. Joe Felice says

    I’d like to see the Eames and O’Keefe houses. Certainly not LBJ’s. He was boor, but I always liked Lady Bird. Didn’t she like pink a lot, like Jackie & Mamie?

  3. Paul Mezhir says

    Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin house in Buffalo is absolutely incredible…….not to be missed! It’s only about 15 minutes south of Niagara Falls, so be sure to make plans to see it on your Great Lakes summer road trip. You will not be disappointed…..it is truly spectacular. While you’re in Buffalo, stop by the Albright+Knox Art Gallery if you are into mid-century modern abstract expressionism…….the collection at the A+K is one of the WORLD’S finest…….the collection is comprised of nothing but masterpieces. Again, you will not be disappointed!

  4. Lois C says

    Hey girls! Thanks for the wonderful map! Coincidentally, just got back from Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, and found a treasure you’ll want to explore. It is called Polymath Park, Acme, Pa., about 30 min from Fallingwater. http://www.franklloydwrightovernight.net. Three houses to tour, including a completely restored (down to the interior furnishings!) and relocated FLW Usonian home, called the Duncan House! Fab! Also two homes designed by one of his apprentices. Owned and run by a young couple, the husband is an architect/builder who did the actual re-building of the Duncan House.
    And yes, you can actually spend the night in any of the three houses. Toally worth the trip for the fascinating story of how all of this came about.

  5. Carol says

    I’ve been to the Carl Sandberg house several times, but have never actually toured the house. It’s time I did. The last time we went to the house and farm, there were baby goats being born in the barn. The goats are descendants of Mrs Sandberg’s beloved dairy goats. It’s a great place for a picnic if you happen to be in the area.

  6. Lawrence Merkle says

    You may want to check out the Laurent House in Rockford Ill, a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House open to the public. It was sold by Wright Auction House a few years ago to a non-profit so it would become a house museum when the original owners could no longer live there due to old age.

  7. pam kueber says

    Note to file, email from reader in Hawaii:

    Don’t forget us out here in Hawaii. Check out;

    Vladimir Ossipoff at http://honolulumuseum.org/ossipoff/ and one of his most famous mid century homes that is open for tour, http://theliljestrandhouse.com/home.html He was Russian born, grew up in Tokyo, Berkeley trained architect. … Most of his mid century homes were designed and built for the elite of the islands. Some truly amazing homes. Mid century with Hawaiian Island and Japanese influences.

    Mahalo and Aloha…

  8. David N Cook says

    Along with #10, the Elvis house in Palm Springs, take a drive around the surrounding Las Palmas neighborhood for many more great examples of mid-mod.

  9. Rita says

    The former Krauss home in Kirkwood, Missouri, is a FLW Usonian home built in the mid century. It is a part of Ebsworth Park, I think, and can be toured by small groups. It has been restored and is spectacular!

  10. Lynda murray says

    #39 The Dymaxion house in Dearborn mi. Is a really fun place to visit. It’s in the Henry ford museum. The museum is open all year, you could spend the whole weekend there. It’s so interesting. They have great programs for Halloween and Christmas. I made costumes for the museum for many years. Totally worth the trip for the whole family!

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