Last Updated on by Jeremy
Fallingwater has become a popular tourist destination in southwestern Pennsylvania as it was designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, is one of his most acclaimed works, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.
There are several more good reasons for this popularity, as the house features unique designs both in the layout and how it appears in nature over the changing seasons.
But did you know that Fallingwater is connected to Pittsburgh in that the famous Kaufmann family (of Kaufmann department store fame) were the original owners of the property and hired Frank Lloyd Wright to build them a house near one of their favorite waterfalls in Ohiopyle?
Pittsburgh Connections at the Fallingwater House
The Kaufmann family hired Wright in 1935 to build a house facing one of their favorite waterfalls in the park. But, in true Frank Lloyd Wright fashion, he couldn't do that in the literal sense and built the house on top of the waterfall instead.
So rather than relaxing and enjoying the waterfall from a distance, the power of nature became interwoven within the house. It is not necessarily seen everywhere, but it is definitely experienced.
Ignoring the request of the Kaufmann family was one thing, but I'd like to believe that everyone was happy at the finished product as this house truly is something special.
So while the tour does a fantastic job highlighting the design details, history of the Kaufmann family, and other unique nuances of the property, odds are good you're simply going to get lost in the beauty of it all, because the house is quite literally a part of nature no matter where you turn.
But as photography is not allowed inside but during most tours, you'll have to just go visit to see what else the house has in-store as this one is well worth experiencing!
A Fantastic Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Tour
When planning a visit to Fallingwater, it is important to keep in mind that despite the fact that the house is located deep inside Ohiopyle State Park, it is one of the region's most popular attractions.
What does this mean exactly? No matter when you visit, Fallingwater is crowded and tickets sell out sometimes weeks in advance.
This translates into a somewhat disjointed tour when you are there, as every room is packed in with a tour group of 10-15 people. Each stop is well timed to shuffle guests around like a cog in a big machine. But with 10 or so stops to enjoy on the tour, this can also make a bit of backup at times as the tour has to work perfectly in order to manage the visitor flow.
In a weird irony, the structure of the tour almost detracts from the flow of the house, and I can almost imagine Frank Lloyd Wright being furious at it all as the form of the tour is, in our opinion, the exact opposite of what he was going for.
But when this is your only way to see such a beautiful design (and an engineering feat, too), some exceptions must be made as you are simply not alone.
Overall, this is not a huge drawback from a visit to Fallingwater in the grand scheme of things, but is something all visitors need to keep in mind as this one draws in the crowds from near and far.
Fallingwater is located at 1491 Mill Run Road in Mill Run, PA.
Heading down to Fallingwater in the winter? Check out the ski resorts in the Laurel Highlands while you are there, or go hiking at Ohiopyle! Or, if wine is what you are after, check out Greendance Winery in Mount Pleasant on your way back home!
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Looking for a Pittsburgh hotel? Check out our favorites below!
- Hampton Inn - Free parking in Downtown/Strip District
- Embassy Suites - Stellar views in many rooms, all from high floors
- Sheraton Pittsburgh - Excellent city view in river view rooms
- Hotel Monaco - A great value option Downtown (and dogs stay free)