Florida Southern College’s Wright Campus Designated National Historic Landmark
LAKELAND (March 7, 2012) – Dr. Anne Kerr, President of Florida Southern College, announced today at a press conference that FSC’s internationally renowned Frank Lloyd Wright campus has been designated a National Historic Landmark District by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Florida Southern College Historic District encompasses Wright’s “Child of the Sun” Campus, the world’s largest single-site collection of the work of iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The College was one of just 13 sites nationwide to receive the designation on Monday. It joins 42 other sites in Florida previously designated National Historic Landmarks, including Bok Tower Gardens near Lake Wales.
Florida Southern President Anne B. Kerr said the designation marked an important moment in the history of the College.
“Today, nearly 75 years after Wright began work on his educational masterpiece, the west campus at Florida Southern College continues to provide a marvelous educational environment for our students and faculty and has become one of the nation’s most significant and most visited cultural tourist destinations,” she said. “In fact, it is our goal to establish our Frank Lloyd Wright campus as one of the top 10 cultural tourist sites in the United States. The important designation of Wright’s campus as a National Historic Landmark is another important step in this journey. What we see around us at Florida Southern is worthy of sharing with the world.”
Kerr outlined future steps the College plans to take to promote and preserve the Child of the Sun campus. Among those steps are:
Terry Dennis, Vice President for Finance and Administration at FSC, said that the College is grateful for the support of local and state governments.
“This is a tribute to the powerful partnerships Florida Southern shares with the City of Lakeland, Historic Lakeland, and Polk County, especially the Polk County Board of Commissioners. This new designation brings distinction not only to our historic campus, but to our local community and the State of Florida. Florida Southern shares this accomplishment with the many local officials and citizens who have guided us in all of our campus planning,” he said. Dr. Sarah D. McKay, a member of the Florida Southern Board of Trustees and a longtime resident of Lakeland, said at Wednesday’s press conference that the designation will be beneficial to the community.
“I was honored to travel with Dr. Kerr to our nation’s capital to represent the FSC Trustees before the selection committee. This announcement is a milestone in the history of Florida Southern College, our city, and our state,” McKay said. In 1975, the Child of the Sun collection was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation’s places deemed worthy of preservation, by the National Park Service. This week’s designation as a National Historic Landmark District means that the Frank Lloyd Wright campus joins a much smaller list of about 2,500 sites that are judged by the National Park Service to be of particular importance to the history and culture of the United States.
National Historic Landmarks are “nationally significant historic places that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States,” according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. “Each of these landmarks teaches us about the history of our land, our people, and our nation – from pictographs dating back two millennia to a World War II warship,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in a statement. “By designating these sites as National Historic Landmarks, we are ensuring that future generations will know these important chapters in our nation’s story and expand opportunities for tourism that generate economic returns for our communities.”
The College is hosting a Frank Lloyd Wright Art and Architecture Excursion to Chicago and Racine, Wis., May 21-25, to visit some of Wright’s most iconic buildings, including the Frederick C. Robie House, the S.C. Johnson Headquarters and Wingspread, the home Wright designed for Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr. The excursion will be conducted by preservation architect Jeffrey Baker, who has overseen several restoration projects at Florida Southern, including the Wright-designed Water Dome.
For more information about the excursion, contact Andy Hernandez of AAA Travel at 866-203-9023, ext. 2250, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.