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City’s best-known buildings focus of lecture series

Architects created styles for Memorial Hall, IOOF Home, Westcott and Bushnell Mansion.

Some of Springfield’s most beloved buildings will be the subjects of of the three talks in the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design’s fall lecture series.

The series opens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday when Barbara Powers, deputy state historic preservation officer for the Ohio Historical Preservation Office talks about Ohio architect Frank L. Packard, designer of three distinctive Springfield buildings: the IOOF Home, Memorial Hall and High Street United Methodist Church, 213 E. High St., where the talk will be held.

Powers, who will focus on the “Architectural Realities of a Midwestern Architect,” said Packard was known for “his attention to detail, high quality materials and craftsman-like work.”

Nationally recognized architectural historian James F. O’Gorman will speak about two architects whose reputation shaped not only the nation but continues to shape present day Springfield when he visits Fifth Lutheran Church at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13.

His title is “Kindred Spirits: The Works of Henry Hobson Richardson and Frank Lloyd Wright.”

Wright, of course, designed the Westcott House, which is sponsoring the series. Perhaps less known is that much of Springfield’s other distinctive architecture, including the Warder Public Library, Bushnell Building, Heritage Center and Richards, Raff & Dunbar Memorial Home, were heavily influenced by Richardson’s Romanesque style.

O’Gorman’s visit is due in part to Kevin Rose, historian at the Turner Foundation, who has been helping O’Gorman to research Isaiah Rogers, a 19th century architect who designed Springfield’s first Lagonda House hotel.

Rose said one part of the series he’s most excited about is having O’Gorman visit Springfield’s Richardsonian gems and listening to his reactions.

Rose himself will present the third lecture, “The Bushnell House at 125.”

Scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Christ Episcopal Church, the lecture will be about the mansion now home to the Richards, Raff & Dunbar Memorial Home, which was built for Springfield resident and Ohio Gov. Asa Bushnell and his wife.

Rose said had it not been for Richardson’s untimely death, the mansion likely would have been designed by the master rather than the well respected Robert H. Robertson.

The presence of such architects’ works in the city speak to the influence and wealth of the Springfielders who at the time commissioned their works.

Members of the Westcott Center will enjoy a members-only tour of the mansion itself Saturday, Nov. 23, at 4 p.m. Those interested in becoming members can call 937-327-9291.

All three lectures are free to students and Westcott House members. Tickets are $5 for non-members and can be reserved by calling the number above or by stopping by the Westcott House gift shop.

The programs are made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support comes from the Turner Foundation, the Springfield Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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