Flood topples statue at iconic Fallingwater house


MILL RUN, Pa. (AP) — An overflowing stream following heavy rain toppled a large bronze statue at architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania, officials said.

The flooding early Saturday from Bear Run, which flows beneath the National Historic Landmark in Fayette County, toppled a tree that hit a wall and apparently dislodged the “Mother and Child” statue from its place, said Director Lynda Waggoner, of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

The interior of the home wasn’t damaged.

“It’s one of our most significant works here at Fallingwater,” Waggoner said of the Jacques Lipchitz sculpture. “It’s one that the house has come to be identified with. The first view, when you’re on the bridge, looking at the house — it’s right there.”

This Aug. 23, 2007 photo shows Fallingwater which was built out over a waterfall in Bear Run, Pa. It is one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's best-known works. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
This Aug. 23, 2007 photo shows Fallingwater which was built out over a waterfall in Bear Run, Pa. It is one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s best-known works. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

This Aug. 23, 2007 photo shows the fireplace and living room area of Fallingwater, a home built over a waterfall in Big Run, Pa. It is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's best-known works. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
This Aug. 23, 2007 photo shows the fireplace and living room area of Fallingwater, a home built over a waterfall in Big Run, Pa. It is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s best-known works. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

FILE - This May 4, 2004 file photo shows Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's 600-acre Wisconsin home, in Spring Green, Wis. Thursday, June 8, 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Wright's birth. His innovative designs continue to fascinate the public, from New York’s circular, sculptural Guggenheim museum, to the famous Fallingwater in the Pennsylvania woods, to his modernist Wisconsin home, Taliesin, which served as a laboratory for his ideas. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
FILE – This May 4, 2004 file photo shows Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s 600-acre Wisconsin home, in Spring Green, Wis. Thursday, June 8, 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Wright’s birth. His innovative designs continue to fascinate the public, from New York’s circular, sculptural Guggenheim museum, to the famous Fallingwater in the Pennsylvania woods, to his modernist Wisconsin home, Taliesin, which served as a laboratory for his ideas. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Frank Lloyd Wright
A visitor reviews a colored pencil drawing of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house, during the press preview for the MOMA exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive,” Thursday June 8, 2017, in New York. Thursday marks the 150th anniversary of Wright’s birth. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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This Aug. 23, 2007 photo shows Fallingwater which was built out over a waterfall in Bear Run, Pa. It is one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's best-known works. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
This Aug. 23, 2007 photo shows the fireplace and living room area of Fallingwater, a home built over a waterfall in Big Run, Pa. It is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's best-known works. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
FILE - This May 4, 2004 file photo shows Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's 600-acre Wisconsin home, in Spring Green, Wis. Thursday, June 8, 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Wright's birth. His innovative designs continue to fascinate the public, from New York’s circular, sculptural Guggenheim museum, to the famous Fallingwater in the Pennsylvania woods, to his modernist Wisconsin home, Taliesin, which served as a laboratory for his ideas. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Frank Lloyd Wright

Waggoner said the statue was submerged in the creek, held up by a chain that was installed after a 1956 flood, but was removed after the water level dropped. It’s being assessed for damage. She said workers would try to repair the wall and move the statue back into place.

Trees by the guest house were also damaged after Bear Run “rose to a deluge,” Waggoner said. Debris was visible on stairs leading down from the first floor of the main house to the stream.

“We’re in this deep valley so the stream rises very quickly. It doesn’t have anywhere to go but up,” she said.

Fallingwater, built over a waterfall for the Kaufmann family, who owned a Pittsburgh department store, is now operated as a museum by the conservancy. Lipchitz’s statue depicts a woman with her arms outstretched and a child clinging to her neck.

The conservancy’s website says the Lithuanian-born sculptor began the design while living in Paris in 1939 and had it cast in bronze in 1941 after he fled to New York following the Nazi occupation.

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