Woodlawn & Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House National Trust for Historic Preservation

Pope-Leighey House

We are excited to announce the arrival of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House by Steven M. Reiss in September 2014! More information on the book here.

 

Pope-Leighey Coloring Book Now Available!
The Pope-Leighey House Coloring Book, created by our very own tour guides, is for sale in our gift shop for $10. You can also call us at 703-780-4000 to order over the phone and have it shipped to you.

 

Pope-Leighey House History
During the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright set his formidable attention towards designing affordable middle-class residences. More than 100 of these modest homes, referred to as Usonian, thought to mean “the United States of North America,” were constructed between 1936 and Wright’s death in 1959, including the Pope-Leighey house (1940). Commissioned in 1939 by Loren Pope, a journalist in Falls Church, the residence was sold to Robert and Marjorie Leighey in 1946. The house was in the path of an expansion of Highway 66, so in an effort to preserve the building, Mrs. Leighey gave the property to the National Trust, which relocated it to nearby Woodlawn and granted her lifetime tenancy. Mrs. Leighey occupied the house at Woodlawn, until her death in 1983. Unusually, the house required a second move due to the instability of the clay soil, and was relocated about thirty feet up the hill in 1995-96.

 

Pope-Leighey House Major Preservation Work
In the past few years, preservation work at the Pope-Leighey House has been focused on the exterior cypress. A pilot conservation program was recently completed that studied the options for creating the best methodologies to clean and protect the exterior siding. Should the wood look weathered or should it be maintained to reflect how it looked when it was built? The original construction specifications treated the interior and exterior wood the same, creating a surface that looked continuous.  Over the years, exposure to the weather has caused the softer early wood of the cypress to deteriorate more rapidly than the harder late wood.  This creates a slightly uneven surface and UV exposure has also caused the cypress to gray.  Experts reached a solution that cleans and protects the siding from biological growth and UV rays, yet some of the weathering will remain. Narrow wood Dutchman, small wood-grafts used to repair cracked and damaged wood, were also completed to provide a more stable exterior skin.