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A Visit to America's Most Beautiful House

Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater"

MILL RUN, Pa.--After seeing a few Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces, you might expect to be a little jaded when it's time for the next one.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have spent time inside the Marin County Civic Center--a stunning Wright creation that was the set for the movie "Gattaca." I've visited Wright's Scottsdale, Ariz., architecture school, Taliesin West and have seen a few other of his buildings along the way.

But nothing prepared me for my Road Trip 2010 visit to the incredible Fallingwater, Wright's 1937 piece de resistance, a relatively small vacation house in the woods here, just more than 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, the home of the Kaufmann family, for whom he designed and built Fallingwater.

For decades, the property here was a country club. Then, Edgar Kaufmann Sr. began renting this woodsy getaway as a retreat for employees of his Pittsburgh department store. Later, Kaufmann purchased the land. But it was only after the Kaufmanns had hired Wright for a Pittsburgh project that the famous architect was commissioned to built a house here. In part, that was because the Kaufmanns' son, Edgar Jr., had studied at Taliesin West and knew that Wright would be a good fit for Bear Run, as the property is known.

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