The low-slung, cantilevered, red tile roof puts an exclamation point on the wide, stucco-covered home brimming with windows at the corner of High Street and Greenmount Avenue in Springfield.

Terraces, gardens, a reflecting pond and pergola accentuate its Asian influence.

Even today the contemporary architecture of the house stands in stark contrast to the historic European-style architecture used on many of the nearby homes along High Street, commonly known as Millionaire’s Row for the large houses once owned by the wealthy in Springfield.

So imagine what neighbors along High Street thought of the house when it was built in 1908. Chris Schutte has an idea. “It must have looked like a spaceship landed,” he says.

Schutte, director of Visit Greater Springfield, is elated the house, designed by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for Burton and Orpha Westcott, landed in Springfield. 

“This is a drawing card,” Schutte says of the home now known as the Westcott House, which incorporated Wright’s innovative Prairie School architectural design. 

“And, obviously, what we love about it as a convention and visitor’s bureau is it’s a drawing card regionally, it’s a drawing card throughout the Midwest, and it’s a drawing card nationally, and internationally for that matter.”

That drawing card, however, was nearly lost in the shuffle of time and owners. By the 1940s the house was converted into a multiunit apartment building, losing many of Wright’s design elements. By the 1990s the building was in such bad condition its owner feared someone would buy and demolish it.

But in 2000 the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy bought the house with the intention of selling it to the just-created Westcott House Foundation. An easement was created protecting the property as a Frank Lloyd Wright site in perpetuity.

Exacting renovations costing nearly $6 million brought the house back to life and it was opened to the public in 2005.

Marta Wojcik, executive director and curator of the Westcott House Foundation, says the cost to renovate the home was worth it. “It’s the only Prairie style house by Wright in Ohio,” she says. “The team felt it would be a really good idea to have it as a public resource, have it open to the public. And I think that after 10 years we can really say that idea succeeded in so many ways.”

Not only is the house open for public tours, but exhibits and programming for all ages are also conducted inside the house, she says. The house can also be rented for events. “Parties are quite fun here because it’s such a different setting,” says Wojcik.

For those who have already visited the house, just a short 30-minute drive from Dayton, the Westcott House Foundation is planning some additions they hope will bring people back again.

Schutte says the foundation plans to add originals and reproductions of period pieces from the time the Westcotts lived in the home, such as Stickley furniture, Rookwood pottery and hand-loomed rugs.

“I think you’re going to get a much better sense of how the Westcott family would have lived,” Schutte says. “So I think we’re all very excited to add that layer.”

For more information about the Westcott House go online to westcotthouse.org or call 937-327-9291.