As I mentioned in my last post, I flew to Phoenix, Arizona last weekend for a family get-together. While there, I visited the Arizona Biltmore
which is celebrating it's 80th
anniversary this year. This historic hotel has played host to every American president since it's opening in 1929, as well as countless celebrities. Albert Chase McArthur
, a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright was the hotel's architect, and the consulting architect for the project was Frank Lloyd Wright himself. It has been debated for years just how much of Frank Lloyd Wright's work went into the final design. The hotel was constructed using a variation of the textile block that was first used by Wright to build private homes.. .
In 1914, Wright designed Midway Gardens, an indoor/outdoor entertainment complex in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The Gardens were adorned with concrete figures designed by Wright and sculpted by Italian artist Alfonso Ianelli
. Wright called these figures "Sprites." When the Midway Gardens was demolished, these figures were thought to be lost forever, but in 1945 they were unearthed on a piece of farmland in Wisconsin. The Sprites were then returned to Taliesin, The Frank Loyd Wright School of Architecture. In 1985, at the request of Mrs. Wright, molds were made from the originals and copies were poured up and then given to the Arizona Biltmore
, where they still stand today.. .
Each Sprite stands six feet tall and weighs 450 pounds.. .
As a side note, the Arizona Biltmore was the birthplace of the "Tequila Sunrise" cocktail. It is also where Irving Berlin penned "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas," while lounging by the hotel's Catalina pool. Additional celebrities that have stayed at the hotel include: Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Harpo Marx, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Magic Johnson, Joe Montana, Shaquiel O' Neal, Michael Jordan, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Jay Leno, George Clooney, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Carson, Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Barbara Walters.
I wanted to write a little something about this architectural gem, but I do plan to return to posting about Disney, Knott's and other theme park related stuff beginning with my next post!