Sunshine State Scrapbook
Another in a yearlong series about must-see Florida places.
Frank Lloyd Wright
The famous architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright is most often associated with Illinois, especially the Chicago suburbs, even though his famous designs are scattered across the United States. Even in Florida, where the largest collection of Wright buildings in the world is in our back yard.
From the Tampa Bay area it's barely a hop and a skip to Florida Southern College in Lakeland, where there are a dozen Wright-designed features, including a fountain called the Water Dome. The architect had designed 18 buildings for the college between 1941 and 1958 as part of the Child of the Sun project. The buildings were named to the World Monument Fund's 100 most endangered sites in 2007. Funded by several grants, ongoing restoration projects are giving visitors a glimpse of Wright's original vision, and tours are available as well.
Lakeland is a worthy day trip, and could be combined with your next long weekend at the theme parks of Orlando. Stop on Friday or Monday for the 11 a.m. guided tour ($10) or cruise in at 1 p.m. for the in-depth tour ($18). (Tours are also offered on Wednesdays.) Restoration work may dash your plans to see everything; check beforehand to see what's open. For instance, the Water Dome is closed now for repairs.
To visit Florida Southern College, take Interstate 4 to Exit 32 at Lakeland. Head south on U.S. 98/Florida Avenue. Turn east on McDonald Avenue. Maps for self-guided tours are provided in a red kiosk near the administration offices. You'll find visitor parking there. The Child of the Sun Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Reservations or more information: (863) 680-4444; www.flsouthern.edu. Times files and wires