On Preservation: Well-Heeled Hero Wanted to Free Wright’s Tarnished Treasure
By Brian Curran
When Harriett Freeman deeded her home in the Hollywood Hills to the University of Southern California in 1984, she must have thought that she had taken an action to ensure its preservation and protection. Built in 1924, the rare architectural treasure was designed for Samuel and Harriett Freeman by none other than America’s most renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. For USC, it was the opportunity to add to the university’s collection of architectural icons that included Greene and Greene’s craftsman masterpiece Gamble House in Pasadena.
Barely 40 years after the Freeman House passed into USC’s hands intact, the building is now forlorn, plundered and decrepit, and it is on the market looking for a “conservation minded buyer,” according to the online real estate site The Real Deal, “who can properly rehabilitate and maintain” the historic home. Harriett must be spinning in her grave.
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