Willey House

You can read about the history and designation of the Willey House historic landmark.




Address: 255 Bedford Street S.E.

Neighborhood: Prospect Park

Construction Date: 1934

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

Architectural Style: Prairie School

Historic Use: Private Residence

Current Use: Private Residence

Date of Local Designation: 1984

Date of National Register Designation: 1984

Area(s) of Significance: Architecture; master architect

Period of Significance: 1934-

Historic Profile: The Willey House is Minnesota’s most significant Frank Lloyd Wright design of the Depression years. In 1934, Wright designed the house for Malcolm Willey, an administrator at the University of Minnesota. The Willey house pioneered the development of the "small house" by emphasizing the interplay of space, orientation to site, and utilization of natural light. It is one of Wright’s earliest designs to incorporate many "built-ins" and to eliminate unnecessary ornament while taking its primary quality from the expert use of natural materials. The design of the house was a precursor to Wright’s "Usonian" houses of the later 1930s, such as the Herbert Jacobs House (Wisconsin) of 1937. The Willey House continues to be preserved and occupied by owners who have recognized and respected its design quality. The house has been recognized by the University of Minnesota School Architecture and by the Minneapolis Planning Commission as one of Wright’s finest "small houses" in Minnesota.

Photo Credits:

1965, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," August 1981.

Updated: February 2007

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Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415