Cover image for Usonia, New York : building a community with Frank Lloyd Wright
Usonia, New York : building a community with Frank Lloyd Wright
Reisley, Roland, 1924-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Princeton Architectural Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xviii, 172 pages : illustrations (some color), plans, facsimiles ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA7238.P54 R54 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Usonia, New York is the story of a group of idealistic men and women who, following WWII, enlisted Frank Lloyd Wright to design and help them build a cooperative utopian community near Pleasantville, NY. Through both historic memorabilia and contemporary color photos, this book reveals the still-thriving community based on concepts Wright advocated in his Broadacre City proposals. Over the years, thousands of architects, scholars, planners, and students have visited the community, but no book has yet appeared on this remarkable site. Reisley, one of the original members of Usonia (and still a resident), has written the first full account to illuminate the events, problems, and passions of a democratic group of people developing a designed environment an hour from New York City and the ups and downs of working with America's most famous -and most famously volatile-architect.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This is the latest of several books written about the "organic" housing development laid out by Frank Lloyd Wright in New York's Westchester County. In 1945, a rural tract was purchased by a cooperative of young couples from New York City, who were able to enlist Wright to build his Broadacre City concept. Wright designed three homes himself and approved the other 44. Reisley, a co-op member who commissioned one of the houses by Wright, outlines the organizational and social life span of Usonia, from the pioneering days of construction work parties through financial crises to the current well-established community. He concludes with a chapter about his own positive experience as a client of Wright. Contemporary photographs help tell the story, and a visual index identifies the houses. Buy for regional collections, Wright collections, and where interest in the American cooperative movement warrants David R. Conn, Surrey P.L., B.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

His career arrested by the Great Depression, Frank Lloyd Wright turned his attention in 1930 to the creation of an ideal community of 1,400 families living in modest homes on 1,400 acres of land. Wright named the community "Usonia." In the mid-1940s a small group of idealistic New Yorkers led by David Henken, a former Wright apprentice, formed a cooperative living venture in Pleasantville, in Westchester County, New York, based on Wright's principles--a plan distinguished by circular lot--and a core of three houses designed by the distinguished architect. Reisley, one of the original Wright clients, a physicist and historian of the community, carefully preserved its archive and has written its history in terms that are engrossing and at times quite moving. Wright was a brilliant and persuasive dispenser of design ideas, but this is the story of the people who struggled, often heroically, to make those ideas and plans into a living reality. The physical beauty of Usonia, New York, evident in the many color plates within the text, is matched by a sense of community that is rare in the US today. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; faculty; professionals; two-year technical program students. J. Quinan SUNY at Buffalo