Frank Wright’s Hanna House, a Tourist Attraction

Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hanna House is an excellent travel attraction that is found on Stanford University campus on the San Francisco peninsula.

An enriching trip is when a spark is lighted to learn more about related things to do on future trips. After visiting Taliesin West in Scottsdale, people are fascinated with the Hanna House, a honeycomb house which is a National Historic Landmark.

There are two stories connected to the Hanna House. Frank Lloyd Wright with his quest of Usonian architecture and Paul and Jean Hanna who were Stanford University educators. The House is one of 17 buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright which the American Institute of Architects listed worthy of preservation.

Hanna House Docent Tours

Visitors should plan in advance and make reservations for tours of the Hanna House at 737 Frenchman’s Road on Stanford University grounds. Non-refundable tickets may be purchased online.

The price of the tours are $10 per person and there is a charge of $5 for a parking permit. Parking is found along side the roads in this hilly residential area of the campus.

One hour docent tours are available on the first and third Sunday at 11:00 a.m.., 11:15 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. and the second and fourth Thursday at 2:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Groups of 15 people or greater may schedule a visit through the Heritage Services by calling (650) 725-8352.

Strict guidelines are adhered to at the Hanna House. Visitors will walk up the hilly driveway from the road and follow the tour signs to find the starting place. Children under twelve are not permitted and the Hanna House has multiple steps both in and outside the house. Photography is prohibited inside the house and with limited use outside the house. Restrooms may be found at the Tresidder Union in the Main Quad of the Stanford campus which is 5-10 minutes away from the Hanna House.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hanna House, Stanford University

Paul and Jean Hanna commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937 to build a house for estimated $15,000. The total amount did exceed their budget and was in the mid $30,000 range. This is the first house that Wright created from the unconventional theory of building with the hexagon design, making a functional, affordable home.

The Hannas asked Wright for a place that might evolve through the years as their young family grew up. Wright responded to this wish creating a place that children would grow up through a Dewey-inspired education to learn by doing.

A few Wright characteristics throughout the home are:

Built with Hexagon design and no right angles
House fits into the hill, not on the top
House is built around a Oak and Cypress tree already on the property
Front door is hidden at the rear of the house, not in front
Car Port only, no garage
House on a concrete mat, and without a basement
Radiating heat.

The children’s room was later changed into a dining area after the Hanna children grew up. The fabricated walls inside the house made it easy to transition the rooms. There is a diagram in the house which displays the before and after floor plans of the changes through the years. Many more items are discovered on these tours.

Paul and Jean Hanna, Stanford University Professors

Although modest by current standards, Paul and Jean Hanna, childhood education professors at Stanford University, rented land for $100 a month through Stanford University (because of provisions through Stanford which land was never to be sold). They accepted a 99-year lease and a choice if they were to ever leave, the house would have to be sold to people who were affiliates of Stanford University.

The Hanna House was returned as a gift to Stanford University in 1975 when Paul and Jean moved into the Pierce-Mitchell Apartment Complex on Campus at a time that they were no longer able manage. Paul Hanna was still a part of Stanford working as a visiting scholar out of Hoover.

Other Places of Interest at Hanna House

The Summerhouse, which is currently occupied by an interim Stanford student, and a pool were built in 1960. Both were designed by William Wesley Peters, Wright’s principal assistant at Taliesin.

The Hanna House was occupied by provosts until the 1989 earthquake which caused extensive damage. After a difficult restoration because of its design, the House was reopened for tours in 1999.

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