I’m a huge fan of architecture and have a special affinity for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. He’s a Midwest architect and is well-known around the world for his Prairie Style buildings and furniture.
On a recent trip to Duluth, I researched some interesting places to visit in the area using Atlas Obscura. Imagine my surprise at seeing a gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW)! I immediately knew a visit would be part of my trip.
The Lindholm Service Station is located in the suburb of Cloquet, just outside of Duluth. Driving up to the station, one immediately recognizes hallmarks of FLW’s work, which sort of appear to be placed gingerly onto an otherwise very utilitarian structure.
The coolest aspect of the station is the large cantilevered roof that juts out over the pumps. It not only houses a waiting room and restrooms, the original design also included hoses that would hang down to dispense gas, thus obviating the need for unsightly pumps on the ground. Unfortunately, building codes didn’t allow that to be realized.
The owners definitely play up the station as a FLW design. At the moment it looks a little worn around the edges – hopefully some funding will come through to renovate it and make it fresh looking once more.
Ray and Emma Lindholm, the owners of the gas station, asked that Wright design their new home. Mäntylä (Finnish for “house among the pines”) was set on 7 acres quite a ways outside of the city center and was constructed in 1952. The Lindholms were so pleased with his design that they also commissioned FLW to design the gas station.
While the gas station remains in Cloquet, the same cannot be said for the Lindholm’s home. After starting to deteriorate as it sat vacant with no buyers, the home was donated to the Polymath Park, a site in Acme, Pennsylvania dedicated to preserving the work of FLW.
Dismantled in 2016, the house was shipped to PA by truck to be rebuilt, expected to be finished in 2018, now planned for 2019. One benefit of the move is that, after being held in private hands for its initial life, it will be possible to stay overnight in the new location when the reconstruction is complete.
The Lindholm Service Station was the only one designed by FLW to be built in his lifetime. However, in 2013, a second service station designed by Wright was constructed at the Pierce-Arrow Museum in Buffalo, New York.
Directions to the Lindholm Service Station: