Bandera, Texas brands itself as the cowboy capital of the world, known far and wide for its dude ranches, including “The Flying L”. Founded in 1947, the ranch used to be advertised as the world’s first “fly-in” dude ranch, though a golf course has since replaced the old airstrip. According to a historic marker dedicated in December, the original buildings that still stand, like the pilot’s lounge and the guest houses, are the work of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
But experts aren’t sure that’s true and Richard Cleary, professor of architecture at the University of Texas School of Architecture, says that these types of mix-ups happen more often than many people realize.
“It’s very common when you have a house, particularly around the mid-20th century that has some features – like a long, overhanging roofline or some kind of prominent fireplace inside the house – for people to see those features and want to ascribe the house to Wright,” Cleary says, “Often you get legends that are held in local lore about that.”
Whether the evidence that supported the claim that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the ranch is accurate or not, Cleary says that does not entirely diminish its significance.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Frank Lloyd Wright or another skilled architect in Texas who designed it,” Cleary says. “I think it’s a very interesting project, the idea of this fly-in guest ranch. That’s interesting regardless of who it is.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
–The evidence that supports the claims that Wright did design the ranch
– Why it is often difficult to determine which designs are authentic and which are not
Written by Emma Whalen.