TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Rare arctic freeze hits Frank Lloyd Wright creation Fallingwater

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 11:12 p.m.
 

The cascading waterfall that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright's masterful Fallingwater has frozen solid in this week's subzero temperatures, a rarity for the normally swift-flowing stream.

“It's a huge icicle,” said Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “A huge glacier almost.”

Bear Run, the stream under the iconic house, still flowed freely, and even the frigid temperature couldn't stop a bit of water that trickled beneath the ice, she said.

“It really just can't stop, but the falls look as if they're frozen over completely,” she said.

In Connellsville, about 15 miles from Fallingwater in Mill Run, temperatures plunged to minus 10 on Tuesday with a wind chill of minus 35. Wednesday morning warmed to a temperature reading of minus 7, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Fred McMullen.

The falls began icing over as soon as the temperature dropped on Sunday night, a phenomenon Waggoner said had only happened two or three times in her 30 years of work with Fallingwater.

As temperatures are expected to reach a balmy 50 degrees this weekend, the waterfall that captivated Wright will likely thaw.

“The ledge that creates the waterfall is a cantilever,” Waggoner said. “He saw that ledge and then created a series of cantilevers that reconnect the house to the site, so that was clearly the inspiration for the house.”

The Fallingwater staff keeps a close eye on the architectural masterpiece, built in 1935, throughout the year.

They installed year-round structural monitors this fall to check on cracks along the terrace wall and beneath the house.

“It'll be interesting to review the results of those structural monitors to see what the thermal impact has been over the last week or so, especially given we're having these extraordinarily cold temperatures now and then Saturday is going to be in the 50s,” she said.

The home is closed to visitors during January and February, but passes to view the grounds are available, weather permitting. Admirers can view the site any time through a webcam video streaming on www.fallingwater.org.

“Fallingwater changes with the seasons. (It's) never the same house in the winter as it is in the summer or fall,” Waggoner said. “Around Fallingwater, with all of the rhododendron and hemlocks, it still is green. And that green against the snow is just stunning.”

Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier - An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. The cascading waterfall that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterful Fallingwater has frozen solid in this week’s subzero temperatures, a rarity for the normally quickly flowing water. Even the frigid temperatures couldn’t stop a bit of water that continued to run beneath the ice. Bear Run, the stream below the iconic house, continued to flow freely on Wednesday despite the chill. The falls began icing over as soon as the temperature dropped on Sunday night.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders  |  Daily Courier</em></div>An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. The cascading waterfall that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterful Fallingwater has frozen solid in this week’s subzero temperatures, a rarity for the normally quickly flowing water. Even the frigid temperatures couldn’t stop a bit of water that continued to run beneath the ice. Bear Run, the stream below the iconic house, continued to flow freely on Wednesday despite the chill. The falls began icing over as soon as the temperature dropped on Sunday night.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Evan R. Sanders  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>An icy Bear Run moves under Fallingwater on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  Cold temperatures throughout the week has provided icy displays from waterfalls and streams throughout the Laurel Highlands area.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Red Onion reunion possibly the last for Hempfield coal mining village
  2. Judge denies former New Alexandria tree trimmer another chance
  3. Monessen home invasion ‘ringleader’ denied leniency
  4. Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond
  5. Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
  6. Ligonier Valley YMCA project in public phase
  7. Gas meter struck, road temporarily closed near Armbrust Wesleyan Church
  8. Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
  9. Southmoreland School director named
  10. Girl, 10, forced to strip in Sewickley Township home invasion
  11. Hempfield cyclist to cool wheels in jail during appeal