The Acres/Galesburg Country Homes

People: Frank Lloyd Wright

Date: 1948

City: Galesburg

The Acres, Galesburg, Michigan.  Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.  Photo by Todd Walsh.

In 1946 a group of Upjohn Company scientists from Kalamazoo and their families jointly embraced the idea of cooperatively building modern, affordable homes in a rural setting. The group identified a site about twelve miles east of Kalamazoo in Charleston Township on which to build.

Some of the group felt this site was too rural, and about half of them amicably split and formed a second group to look for a parcel of land nearer to Kalamazoo. The splinter group located a parcel near the southwest corner of Kalamazoo city limits, bought it, and named it “Parkwyn Village” (map). The remaining members of the original group purchased a seventy-one-acre site, in 1947 and nicknamed it “The Acres.” People in both cooperatives admired Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and, again working in cooperation, they approached the architect about designing their respective parcels. He agreed, and visited the area in March 1947 to walk the lands for planning purposes. Wright’s original plans for The Acres called for twenty-one homes on round, one-acre sites. However, only five houses would be built, four of which are Wright-designed Usonians.

Interestingly the Federal Housing Authority would not approve financing for houses built on the Wright-prescribed circular lots, but the families were eventually able to finance the construction of their homes without FHA funds. In order to keep constructions costs down, the four families participated in the construction of their homes by building the concrete blocks that were to be used for the buildings.

The Acres was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 19, 2004.