Monday, October 4, 2010

Good grief: Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple vandalized

In one of the more ridiculous cases of theft or vandalism that I can remember, someone has stolen the copper lettering from Frank Lloyd Wright's historic Unity Temple in Oak Park.  This happened in the wee hours of the night between September 28th and 29th.  Who did it, I wonder?  A super sleuth team of architectural ninjas reselling artifacts on the black market?  No, based on an article in the Oak Park Journal, it was likely just someone looking for scrap.  I mean, I know times are tough and all, but seriously?  Scrap metal?

UnityTemple
Photo by Yo Hibino via flickr.  Note: the lettering is still in place in this photo.

The congregation has yet to decide how best to replace the lettering or what the cost will be.  According to the article: "there's the question of what to restore them with. Should they bring back the original bronze, or replace them with a material that looks good, but is perhaps less appealing to criminals?"

I have an idea-- bring back the original bronze but also install a security camera somewhere near the property.  It's sad such a tactic is necessary for a house of worship, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

More information about the Unity Temple can be found on the congregation's web site or the all knowing Wikipedia.

2 comments:

Meeting Neil is Easy said...

Who do you trust when everyone's a crook?

Anonymous said...

Back in the mid-70's I was a student architect working for an Oak Park arch firm. Among our projects was one of the many rehabs of the UT. One of my tasks was to crawl up on that little roof in the photo (there's one on each side of the entry) and precisely measure the location and spacing of those very letters so they could be removed and replaced after the concrete was refinished. Those guys stole MY letters!

~Steve Sundman