ODN Item of the Week: Rush Creek Village

Rush Creek Village neighborhood sign

Did you know that Central Ohio is home to a community filled with houses inspired by the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright? Worthington’s Rush Creek Village began construction in the 1950s, under the inspiration and dedication of Martha Wakefield, a Columbus native and art and philosophy student at The Ohio State University. Upon discovering Wright’s work, she wrote to him and he invited Martha and her husband Richard to visit him at his Taliesin West home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Leaving even more inspired than ever, the Wakefields began work to find a site for their dream house and an architect to design it.

Theodore van Fossen, also an OSU grad, was their man. A former employee of Wright’s, van Fossen was very in tune with the Wakefield’s goal of a living space that worked with the natural features and materials of the land it was built on – a model of Wright’s Usonian philosophy. Together, the 3 of them directed the construction of 48 houses and created a legendary community that has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Photograph by Richard W. Burry – Volunteer Photography Group

Our item of the week is a special treat for any fans of this design school. In 2000, Dorothy Hogan filmed a 38 minute documentary detailing the creation of Rush Creek Village. It contains interview footage with both Martha Wakefield and Theodore van Fossen, especially valuable as they have both since passed away. Also included are before and after photographs of the building site, video clips of the construction, and even footage of the interior of these houses, along with a photo slideshow tucked away after the credits. Providing more access than a drive through the neighborhood will, this video is a wonderful reference piece and time capsule for a community that is still thriving today. You can watch the free video now in your browser, thanks to Worthington Public Library and the Worthington Historical Society.