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Local relative donates photo of Frank Lloyd Wright's father
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · November 16th, 2017

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's birth, and in recognition and celebration, Mary C. Rogers has donated a photo of William Carey Wright - father of the famous architect - to the Marion Heritage Center and Museum. She has also donated a music CD of a number of pieces which the elder Wright composed and often played on the piano.

Mrs. Rogers is a local family relative. The photo is a studio card and is stamped "Hawkeye Studio Marion, Iowa, ca. 1890."

William Carey Wright was born in 1825 and lived until 1904. A good part of that time he was a Methodist minister who preached in many different locations in eastern Iowa, including from Belle Plaine to Washington to McGregor on the Mississippi River.

He was not only a minister but also had other occupations such as lawyer, composer, music teacher and doctor.

The CD of Wright's musical compositions was recently recorded and produced by David Patterson, an expert on 19th century music.

As many museums around the country celebrate the Sesquicentennial anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's birth, a statement released by Lynette Brenzel, Director of the Heritage Center, notes that "it is with pride and no little surprise to discover Marion and perhaps even our old Methodist church building has a connection to the great architect!"

Brenzel researched a bit and found that the Douglas and Charlotte Grant House located here in Marion is a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

A number of online sites - Wikipedia, Iowa Public Radio, and YouTube - have information about Rev. Wright and his music.

The photo will be on display in the Heritage Center lobby and the CD will be played during open hours throughout the rest of the year as part of the Wright celebration.

Brenzel said, "We are delighted she [Mrs. Rogers] has donated the photo and music CD and shared this family history with us."

Admission to the Heritage Center is free, thanks to a grant from the McIntyre Foundation of Cedar Rapids.

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