POMPANO BEACH, Fla./ August 09, 2018 (STL.News)
“Jackie Gleason’s UFO House & Frank Lloyd Wright’s Schoolhouse”
In the 1950s and ‘60s, one of television’s most popular shows was the “Jackie Gleason Show,” broadcast live from Studio 50 in New York City. Jackie’s former home in the New York City suburb of Westchester County, shaped and named for the UFOs that he was sure were real, was recently for sale at $12 million.
A man of diversified interests with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in “The Hustler,” producer of mood music albums that stayed at the top of the charts for months, and over 40 years in radio, stage and television, there was another side to Gleason that wasn’t widely known and which he did not discuss publicly. He had a strong belief in UFOs and the paranormal. It was so strong that in addition to his salary and royalties while under contract to CBS in the mid 1950s, the studio gave him six acres of land and a house in Peekskill, New York, which he was free to design and build to his own specifications. He built a series of spaceship houses – a main house, which he called the Mother Ship, a guest house named the Scout Ship, a round storage building and two swimming pools, all of which were completed in 1959. It was part studio, part home and part party house. It was also where he housed his ever growing library on UFOs, parapsychology and the paranormal. The compound was recently for sale at $12 million.
“Frank Lloyd Wright’s Schoolhouse”
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most unique designs was also a testing ground for new architectural ideas. Wright’s original preschool commissioned in 1912 as the The Cottage School and later turned residence in the Riverside bedroom community outside of Chicago is on the market for the first time in 40 years – priced at $800,000.
Designing a school was a new creative adventure for Wright. It was the first time his design theme would revolve around children, which allowed for a touch of whimsy to be included. The architecture displays Wright’s first use of the flat roof, and the first shift from the squares and rectangles in his previous art glass windows to colorful circles, representing balloons. Tiny, grouped mosaic-like pieces of glass create the impression of movement and the windows are the only time he also incorporated the American flag. Several of the original windows still exist and the others have been replaced with impeccable replicas. The Art Institute of Chicago is now home to the original triptych window that has been viewed by Wright students and aficionados around the world.
Whether referred to as The Cottage School, the Avery Coonley School or the Avery Coonley Playhouse, Wright’s design was a practical and cheerful design that was successfully repurposed into a single-family residence by his assistant. Now for sale for the first time in 40 years, the listing agent is Mike McCurry of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Chicago, Riverside, Illinois.
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