A masterpiece discovered in Carbondale

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Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

CARBONDALE, Ill. - A masterpiece has been uncovered in downtown Carbondale.

A Frank Lloyd Wright original stained glass window was uncovered when the building owner had some masonry work done on the facade.

Underneath some worn wood was a 1920's creation now worth around $50,000.

Frank Lloyd Wright was a famous architect, artist and author.

He made many innovations in modern design and coined the term "organic architecture."

The building sits at 114 Illinois Avenue in Carbondale, just across from the downtown pavilion.

The bottom unit of the building is an art gallery and upstairs there are four apartment units.

If you frequent busy Illinois Avenue in Carbondale, you have noticed the old Virginia building is undergoing renovation.

"I enjoy working on old buildings like this, brings back a part of history," said owner of Cheatham Masonry, Brad Cheatham.

But you may not have noticed the understated, dull glass work on the facade.

You probably did not give it a second glance, but you will next time!

Carbondale Main Street representative Shannon Ranzini says the story of the stained glass piece's discovery is eerily coincidental.

"In the process my supervisor noticed that the design on the glass is very similar to our main street logo," said Ranzini.

The same logo on the shirt Ranzini was wearing.

She says uncovering something so valuable was completely unexpected.

That unexpected discovery now gives tenant Mark Straeter a new appreciation for the building he calls home.

"I studied Frank Lloyd Wright for a couple years when I was studying architecture in high school and I love a lot of his stuff," said Straeter.

It's vibrancy has been lost after decades under wood paneling.

Experts believe Wright made this particular piece in the 1920's, but why in Carbondale...no one knows.

"It's kind of impressive to be able to work on something that's part of Frank Lloyd Wright, we're going to be real careful with it, that's for sure!," said Cheatham.

Cheatham hopes the story unfolds as he continues working on the historic building.

The owner of the building declined a chance to go on camera, but she did say that she and her husband plan to keep the stained glass.

With the help of Carbondale Main Street, they plan on having the broken portion fixed and restored to bring back it's original vibrancy.

 

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