Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Updated Book Sets Its Designs on Klutho

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Updated Book Sets Its Designs on Klutho

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Times-Union staff writer

This is the story of how a book came to be -- a story of the characters in it and a story of the characters who created it.

In the spring of 1901, a New York architect Henry John Klutho read about a devastating fire in Jacksonville. He left his newly opened business and headed south to help rebuild a city from ashes. He stayed in Jacksonville until his death in 1964. In the decades between his move and his death, Klutho's influence on the architectural face of post-fire Jacksonville proved extensive.

After meeting renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904, Klutho's work began to reflect aspects of Wright's Prairie School, which is characterized by spaces inside buildings that expand outdoors through porches, terraces and other horizontal lines. Prairie-style houses are often low-slung and seem to grow out of the ground.

Wayne Wood, author of Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage and a board member of the Jacksonville Historical Society, said Jacksonville has more examples of Prairie School architecture than any city east of Chicago. Prime specimens include the St. James Building at 117 W. Duval St., which now serves as City Hall, and the Morocco Temple with its distinctive sphinx sculptures at 219 N. Newnan St., which is now occupied primarily by Cecil W. Powell and Co.

Robert C. Broward, a Jacksonville architect who returned from an internship with Wright in 1950, met Klutho and continued their friendship until Klutho's death in 1964.

Broward explains in the forward of his new book, The Architecture of Henry John Klutho, The Prairie School in Jacksonville, why he felt compelled to record Klutho's contributions to Jacksonville. "I decided the time had come to do the extensive research needed to place Klutho's life and work in proper perspective. I spent the better part of the next six years scanning over 1,400,000 pages of print on microfilm, making a special index. . . . This research, coupled with interviews, Klutho's early brochures, a student's thesis, my personal knowledge of Klutho and assistance from the Department of State . …

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