THE JOHN W. GEIGER COLLECTION
FOR THE STUDY OF
Series 1: John W. Geiger
Residence for Dr. and Mrs. Isadore Zimmerman
Manchester, New Hampshire (1950)
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect
John W. Geiger, construction supervision
This timeline was created by John Geiger from correspondence with Michael Komanecky, curator at the Currier Museum of Art and reference to his own documentation. The account summarizes the flow of events between client and architect, creation of drawings, requested changes, the construction process, and final review of the result by the Zimmermans. Where possible, citations are linked to materials in the Geiger collection.
The clients first read Modern Architecture, the Kahn Lectures, by Frank Lloyd Wright, of whom they had never heard. They next read The Autobiography by Wright, and a House Beautiful article by Loren Pope about his experience with Wright. [Citation: Historic Structures Report, p.12]
June 27, 1949. First letter from the Zimmermans to Wright.
July 13, 1949. Response by Wright to the Zimmermans.
August 10, 1949. The Zimmerman's first visit to Taliesin and interview with Wright.
August 24, 1949. Letter to Wright adding functional requirements but with caveat for them not to interfere with “your architectural creation.” And that you should have a “free hand limited only by our financial status”,…”conditioned by reason.”
October 11, 1950. Preliminary drawings are in the mail.
October 29, 1950. Letter indicating a meeting with Wright at the Plaza Hotel [New York City] and indicating additional changes.
January 25, 1951. Letter praising house but requesting additional amenities.
April 7, 1951. The working drawings, dated March 20, 1951, are received by the Zimmermans [as blueprints].
May, 1951. Letter about Taliesin apprentice not arriving before May 28 .
June 2, 1951. Telegram [from Wright]: will send apprentice when house is laid out.
June 2, 1951. Contractor to Wright: house is completely laid out.
June 2, 1951. First revisions to working drawings by Geiger at Taliesin prior to leaving for Manchester; addition of kitchen clerestory and square window sash in living room changed from a pair of casements to. Window schedule on Sheet #8 changed. Sheet 1A, foundation plan, is Geiger redrawing if this plan and is dated June 2, 1951, which means it was done at Taliesin. Geiger notes that there was no concrete footing as a base for the brick walls and that he added a square, 8” deep reinforced concrete footing to receive the masonry walls. The original drawing, Sheet #1 footing plan, should be examined. All other “A” designated drawings bear a revision date of June 11, 1951, Geiger noted, "which means that they were drawn on the job site in Manchester" [by Geiger].
June 4, 1951. Wright informs Zimmermans that he will send John Geiger to serve as on-site superintendent.
June 8, 1951. John Geiger arrives on site for construction supervision. [Citation: Historic Structures Report, p. 26.]
June, 1951. John Geiger writes to Eugene Masselink at Taliesin to say he has arrived on site. Cost of trip was $97.61, which Geiger noted "I apparently paid myself."
June 11, 1951. This is the revision date of the drawings (June 11, 1951) made by John on site. Geiger noted, "Since I arrived only on the 8th I arbitrarily chose this date for all revisions made on the job."
July 12, 1951. Sheets 6A, Workspace, and Sheet 7A, Millwork, have an additional revision date of July 12, 1951. See drawings.
July 20, 1951. Responses from Eugene Masselink at Taliesin to John Geiger regarding suggestions for changes.
August 2, 1951. Letter from Eugene Masselink at Taliesin stating that "Mr. Wright under the weather, but Jack [John Howe] thinks changes are OK."
September 10, 1951. Concrete floors are condemned for poor quality and are to be replaced.
October 11, 1951. John Geiger writes to Frank Lloyd Wright, raising question about additional clerestory windows for kitchen.
October 16, 1951. Letter and drawings from Eugene Masselink at Taliesin, providing Wright's solution for additional light in kitchen. Geiger noted that the second clerestory windows drawing is probably by John Howe.
November 1, 1951. New Sheet 6B, Workspace, has a revision date of this date.
December 12, 1951. John Geiger sends correspondence and drawings to Taliesin of cabinets and furniture for Wright's approval. Geiger noted, "He [Dr. Zimmerman] is delighted with your suggestion for the quartet stand."
December 14, 1951. Letter noting sending of samples of fabric for living room.
December 15, 1951. First letter noting trouble with contractor [Swanberg] on job.
December 19, 1951. Letter from John Geiger to Frank Lloyd Wright about terminating contract with contractor Swanberg and Geiger finishing the house as contractor supervisor.
February 13, 1952. Letter and drawings from Eugene Masselink at Taliesin West for music stand arrive at site.
April 19, 1952. The total carpenter hours January 13, 1952 to April 19, 1952 is 1,636 hours at $2.10 per hour, totalling $3,435.60. [Citation: Letter in Zimmerman correspondence, Geiger collection.]
April 19, 1952. John Geiger writes to Frank Lloyd Wright stating , "I will leave here next Wednesday."
June 16, 1952. Letter from the Zimmermans to Frank Lloyd Wright in praise of house and John Geiger.