The University of Wisconsin Press

Architecture / Art History / Wisconsin / Urban Planning


Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace
The Enduring Power of a Civic Vision
David V. Mollenhoff and Mary Jane Hamilton

"What a fascinating book Mollenhoff and Hamilton have written. Monona Terrace is one of the most controversial and exciting buildings my grandfather ever designed. Their wonderfully detailed and lavishly illustrated book is a joy to read. I know my grandfather would be extremely pleased."—Eric Lloyd Wright, architect

"This richly researched history will appeal not only to admirers of Frank Lloyd Wright, but to everyone interested in the interplay of politics, economics, culture, and public space in twentieth-century urban America. This is popular history at its best."—Paul Boyer, Merle Curti Professor of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"I can say without reservation that the Monona Terrace project is one of Wright's most original and important designs.... It is important for the study of American urbanism and city planning in general; for what it reveals of the intimate relations between architecture and politics in the twentieth century; and for Wright's own involvement in and contribution to these questions."—Neil Levine, Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Fine Arts, Harvard University, author of The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

With sumptuous illustrations and superb documentation, the extraordinary story of the epic fifty-nine-year civic battle to build one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important designs is finally told in Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace: The Enduring Power of a Civic Vision, by David Mollenhoff and Mary Jane Hamilton.

Opened in the summer of 1997 as a convention and community center, Monona Terrace was first conceived by Wright in 1938 and resulted in ten designs, thousands of drawings, five local referenda, ten lawsuits, and several acts of the state legislature. Mollenhoff and Hamilton provide the definitive history of the building's design, the tempestuous relationship of Wright to his hometown of Madison, and the community leaders and activists who rallied to oppose or support the project. Drawing from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, thousands of newspaper accounts, extensive government records, and dozens of interviews, the book also features more than 200 illustrations in color and black and white, including many published here for the first time.

In August 2000 The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announced that David Mollenhoff and Mary Jane Hamilton are recipients of an AASLH Certificate of Commendation for Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace: The Enduring Power of a Civic Vision. This is a most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of local, state and regional history.

David V. Mollenhoff is the author of the award-winning book, Madison: A History of the Formative Years.
Mary Jane Hamilton is a well-known Wright scholar, author, and curator.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

the cover of this book on Wright's Monona Terrace is black, with an architectural drawing of a proposed design for the Terrace.

April 1999

320 pp.   11 x 8 1/2
200 color illus.

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