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Dana-Thomas House offers special tours explaining famed house's design

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[August 10, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- When Susan Lawrence Dana commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to remodel her father's home, she wanted a showcase for the visual and performing arts, a venue to entertain friends and celebrities, and a home for her family. A new specialty tour of the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site, "Living the Wright Way," will reveal how Wright met her expectations.

Behind-the-scenes spaces that are not typically presented on guided tours will be highlighted, including a balcony that Wright designed for live music. Guests will also see historic artifacts that are not generally on display.

The tours will be conducted at 10:15 a.m. on Aug. 17 and 31 and Sept. 14 and 28.

Led by Roberta Volkmann, the tours will last approximately two hours, with a suggested donation of $20 per person.

Volkmann is the author of the recently published biography, "Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House." Volkmann trained as an interpreter of the Wright-designed Dana-Thomas House shortly after the state of Illinois bought it in 1981 and has since volunteered there in many capacities.

Because tours are limited to 15 guests, reservations are strongly encouraged. Visitors can call 217-782-6776 to reserve a space.

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The Dana-Thomas House, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, was designed by Wright in 1902. It is perhaps the best-preserved of his Prairie-style homes, with more than 400 pieces of specially made art glass and 100 pieces of original furniture.

Located at Fourth and Lawrence streets in Springfield, the site is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

To learn more, visit

[Text from file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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