Art & Architecture

  • Following the photographers: Lake Superior's south shore

    If they're lucky, they get weeks of northern lights. Then, perhaps an irruption of snowy owls swept down from the Arctic. And if it's cold and calm enough, the mainland ice caves of the Apostles not only will be accessible but magnificently frozen by subzero temperatures. Amid so much natural beauty, photographers are like kids in a candy store. And they share their booty on Facebook pages and online galleries.

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  • Road trip: Wisconsin's concrete art

    In the early days of highway travel, some very ordinary folks toiled to enliven Wisconsin's roadsides.

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  • Fountain City oddities

    It's easy to speed right through the river town of Fountain City, on the way to someplace else, but that would be a mistake. In Fountain City, all is not as it seems. A Hindu temple sits amid hay fields. One of the world's largest collections of toy pedal cars occupies five barns on a bluff. Dreamlike Santas ride fish in a riverfront studio, models for copies sold around the nation.

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  • Following the photographers: Lake Superior in Minnesota

    Do you love to see gorgeous photos of your favorite landscapes, especially when you're sitting in an office cubicle? One place especially blessed with photographers who share their work is Minnesota's dramatic North Shore of Lake Superior, where world-class scenery stretches from Duluth to the Canadian border.

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  • Loving Frank Lloyd Wright

    More than half a century after his death, Frank Lloyd Wright is as notorious and admired as ever. His eventful life still provides material for bestsellers, including the 2007 novel "Loving Frank,'' about his relationship with the ill-fated Mamah Borthwick Cheney, and T.C. Boyle's 2009 novel "The Women,'' about Wright, Mamah and Wright's three wives.

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  • Artistic Grand Marais

    A hundred years ago, Grand Marais was a wind-buffeted outpost at the tip of the North Shore, stomping grounds of trappers, loggers and fishermen. The dirt road connecting the village to Duluth often was impassable, and winter provisions had to be brought in by steamer before Lake Superior iced over. But amid the hardship, there was always art.

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  • Wright in Racine

    Wherever he worked, Frank Lloyd Wright was good for a story. In Racine, Wis., the staff of global manufacturer SC Johnson has plenty of them to tell. In 1936, the grandson of the company's founder hired the flamboyant architect to design an Administration Building. "Don't make it too unconventional,'' H.F. Johnson Jr. told Wright.

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  • Drawn to Spring Green

    There's a story behind everything in Spring Green. Frank Lloyd Wright's story begins in the 1860s, when his unconventional grandparents and their 10 children emigrated from Wales to settle this dramatic valley of the Wisconsin River, which came to be known as "the valley of the God-almighty Joneses.'' The story of Alex Jordan's House on the Rock, atop a limestone spire that overlooks the valley and Wright's beloved home, is rooted in spite. After his father traveled from Madison to show Wright blueprints for a rooming house, and was harshly snubbed, Jordan vowed to get even and "put a Japanese house up out there.''

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  • Wright in Oak Park

    Around Frank Lloyd Wright's old stomping grounds in Oak Park, Ill., 2014 was a big year. Of course, every year is a big year at the architect's first home and studio, which draws crowds of people from around the world even when it's not celebrating its 125th anniversary. People come to Oak Park for the sensational stories as well as the architecture. Wright was notoriously ill-behaved, breaking promises and scoffing at rules. He was a genius, and he knew it.

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  • Wright in Mason City

    Brilliant men have been very good to Mason City, Iowa. Frank Lloyd Wright built a bank, hotel and house there in 1908-09, and the locals loved his Prairie style so much it commissioned houses from four of his associates. Today, it's one of the best collections in the nation. Wright became persona non grata in Mason City after he abruptly left for Europe with his married lover. But a musical virtuoso was growing up nearby. Meredith Willson's "The Music Man," inspired by Mason City and its band, became a Broadway smash in 1957.

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