Frank Lloyd Wright file photo

Frank Lloyd Wright’s passport photograph in the summer of 1956.

The following State Journal editorial appeared on Aug. 3, 1951:

Frank Lloyd Wright wants to design the new bridge over the Wisconsin River at the Dells.

Well, why don't we let him?

The Dells is one of Wisconsin's most important tourist attractions. A Frank Lloyd Wright bridge would provide an additional spot of interest.

South Dakota paid Gutzon Borglum a lot of money to carve his gigantic statues out of the marble of a Black Hills mountain, and they draw tourists by the millions. As an artist, Borglum is a pygmy compared to the old Master of Taliesin. ...

Besides that, it would be a good bridge. The structures Wright has built over the last 50 or 60 years, from his windmill at Taliesin to the Johnson Wax plant at Racine, have stood up and met the tests of beauty and utility.

Years ago, Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a city auditorium for Madison to be erected on piles in the lake at the end of Monona Avenue. The State Journal submitted these plans to the late Daniel K. Mead, then one of America's foremost engineers. 

Mead studied them and said: "Personally, I have no use for Frank Lloyd Wright, and I like few of the things for which he stands; but these plans are based on sound engineering, and represent a practical and imaginative approach to this problem."

Wright's niche in architectural history is well assured. He has had a greater influence on modern architecture, and on young architects, than any other man in this century. The storms that have raged about his head have largely subsided. Even most of his contemporaries, whom he holds in contempt, reluctantly admit his genius.

There's only one major tragedy, for which the future probably will condemn this generation: Wisconsin, his home, has all too few examples of his inspired work. His offer to design the Dells bridge — for free — can partially correct that.