Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House

Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House

Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House
Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House is located in Wisconsin
Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House
Location 441 Toepfer Ave., Madison, Wisconsin
Built 1937
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Architectural style Modern Movement, Other
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 74000073
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 24, 1974[1]
Designated NHL July 31, 2003[2]

Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House, commonly referred to as Jacobs I, is a single family home located in Madison, Wisconsin. Designed by noted American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, it was constructed in 1937 and is considered by most to be the first Usonian home.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Madison newspaperman Herbert Jacobs, a Wright acquaintance, challenged the architect to design and build a home for $5,000 (equivalent to $82,025 in 2016).[3] Wright designed an L-shaped structure with an open floor plan and two bedrooms. To economize construction costs Wright developed a 2 14-inch-thick (57 mm) plywood sandwich wall for use on this house. Rumor maintains that redirected bricks from the Johnson Wax Building ultimately helped keep final construction costs at $5,500.[4]

The Jacobs family moved into the house after construction but quickly outgrew the two-bedroom ranch. Herbert Jacobs commissioned Wright to build a second home, Jacobs II. The family moved there in the late 1940s.

Over the following decades the house passed ownership and was exposed to modifications and maintenance techniques of variable historical value. A multi-year restoration project began in 1983, restoring the house to its 1937 appearance and updating worn and inefficient building systems.

The current owner has the home available for monthly rent and opens the house for tours through the Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Heritage Tourism Program, Inc.

The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2003.[2]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Heinz, Thomas A., The Vision of Frank Lloyd Wright, Regency House Publishing, 2000
  4. ^ Heinz, Thomas A., Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide, Vol 1., Academy Editions, 1996

External links

  • Official site
  • YouTube: 1992 video tour featuring Katherine Jacobs
  • Wright in Wisconsin
rear view