Fallingwater, the Mill Run landmark that attracts visitors from throughout the world, is hosting its biannual Fayette County Appreciation Day on March 15.
Be Local means taking advantage of the opportunity when Fallingwater offers free admission for Fayette County residents to this Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, known as the house built over a waterfall.
Fayette County Appreciation Days are held on designated days each spring and fall with guided one-hour tours available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Advance reservations are encouraged to guarantee admission and can be made by calling 724-329-8501.
“It’s extremely important to us to help pay back the citizens of this county who have seen this house from from its first stone to the UNESCO World Heritage site it is today,’’ Fallingwater assistant Visitor Services Manager Chris Coan said in a release from the Fayette County Public Relations Initiative.
Fallingwater was designed by Wright in the 1930s for Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar Kaufmann Sr. and his family as a weekend home.
Edgar Kaufman Jr. entrusted Fallingwater to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963, and the property opened to the public in 1964.
“At the dedication, they said, maybe one day, as many as 25,000 people a year will find their way to this remote location. In 1964, they had 29,000. In 1965, they had 52,000,’’ Lynda Waggoner told the Herald-Standard in an interview just before her retirement as Fallingwater director in 2018. She noted visitation reached 167,000 in 2015.
Through the years, the building has received many accolades, but it reached a new height when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Fallingwater a World Heritage site in July 2019.
Justin Gunther, who succeeded Waggoner as director, told the Herald-Standard last summer he expected the designation would generate more international tourism.
“And the fact we have more Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Kentuck Knob (in Chalk Hill) and Polymath Park (in Acme) – not only can you come to Laurel Highlands to see Fallingwater, but you can explore the legacy of Wright’s architecture even more,’’ Gunther noted.
In the midst of all this attention, however, Fallingwater remembers Fayette County.
Fallingwater’s website notes: “Fayette County residents have had an important role in Fallingwater’s history and remain actively involved as staff or volunteers in its ongoing preservation, interpretation and stewardship.’’
It’s a mutual admiration society as the Fayette County PR Initiative in its release quoted the county commissioners, who expressed their regard for Fallingwater and noted its importance to the local economy.
Commissioner Vince Vicites said, “Residents should support Fallingwater events not only because it’s a wonderful place to visit, but because it’s part of the fabric of our Fayette County community.”
Commissioner Scott Dunn said, “National Geographic Traveler put together a list of the world’s greatest destinations called ‘50 Places of a Lifetime.’ Fallingwater is on that list, and I think that says it all.’’
Commissioner Chairman Dave Lohr noted that when people come to see Fallingwater, they often stay in the area to enjoy other attractions.
Lohr said, “Fallingwater has architecture and artwork that is world-renowned. Supporting the site’s events not only helps to keep a local attraction with international appeal staffed and maintained, but - by supporting the local economy - benefits everyone.”
Dunn added,“When Fayette County residents go to events at local venues, they tell their families, their friends, their coworkers - and it all helps to get the word out about what Fayette County has to offer.’’
Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can call 724-439-7515 or email email@example.com. Discount cards are available at the Herald-Standard, 8 E. Church St., Uniontown, and at the Greene County Messenger, 32 Church St., Waynesburg.