link: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Unified Vision: The Architecture and Design of the Prairie School
navigation spacer Introduction navigation spacer The Collection navigation spacer Purcell-Cutts House Tour navigation spacer Architectural Tour navigation spacer Comments navigation spacer

Edna Purcell in Writing Nook, The Edna S. Purcell House (now the Purcell-Cutts House), 1913
Edna Purcell in Writing Nook, The Edna S. Purcell House (now the Purcell-Cutts House), 1913
(William Gray Purcell and
George Grant Elmslie)

Send Us Your Comments
Name:   (optional)
e-mail address:   (optional)


Is it okay to display your comments on this site?
Yes  No


Comments from other visitors

I want to thank you for your wonderful website. I am the great great grandniece of William Gray Purcell. It is so much fun reading about my families history and even seeing family photos! Keep up the good work!

—Hollis Kunz

I like the model of the Francis W. Little House, and I thought the tea set display was beautiful.


I love the stained glass work! The cusions on the benches are a lovely design. The artist must have worked hard to find the right look. It looks like a really confortable reading area! The little lights on the wall are a nice source of light and look really nice.

I am a young architect in Chicago and wanted to thank you for the sensitive, informative, thorough and engaging tour of the house.

—Eylul Wintermeyer

This virtual tour was the very next-best thing compared to a live tour. The detail in this home is exquisite.

—Brandon Reese

Sometime in the early 70's I visited the Purcell/Anson Cutts residence while he was still alive, armed with my copy of the Guide to Minnesota Architecture. I rang the doorbell, a lady with an accent appeared at the door and with a smile on her face she said "come right in." Next thing I knew she put on her coat and hat and walked out leaving me alone with a confused elderly gentelman sitting at the dining room table. Alarmed he said "what am I going to do now ? She was supposed to make my dinner & now she has left me in a huff!" I introduced myself and he showed me the kitchen stove, the refrigerator and plates. He was not able to prepare the dinner. I thought I can do it, my wife would be proud of me. I fried the meat, cooked the potatoes, and poured the drink for him, he was relieved. He was kind enough to let me take pictures after a tour of the house. I sat with him in the living room and enjoyed the afternoon sun that poured through the stained glass windows. And you might ask have you been in the house by Elmslie Purcell? Why Yes, I even made dinner there!

— Jon Buschke

What a great site! We used it all the time during a visit to Minneapolis and then nearby Minnesota this summer (2006), following all the tours. The only thing we missed was a tour of the interior of the Purcell-Cutts house (so we took the virtual tour), but we did wander round it and sneaked into the porch. We briefly saw the interior of Stewart Memorial Presbyterian Church and were invited in to see the interior of the Backus house by the present owner, as he was watering his garden. We loved the house in Red Wing and spent a night in Winona so we could see the interiors there the next day. We ended in Owatonna, where I finally got to see the interior of the National Farmers Bank, wow. We visited in 1975 but it was a Saturday, so the bank was closed. Once again thanks for a very informative and easy to use (specially for touring) site.

Inspiring. If only I had the opportunity visit the Purcell- Cutts home. My thanks to all who have contributed to maintaining these works.

My wife and I live in the original Purcell house in Rose Valley, PA. We love our home and have turned it 'inside out' with improvements that we feel Purcell would have approved. Dave Gebhart visited just after we had added a second floor in design after Purcell's work. I believe Dave took several photos. We are now undergoing a $250,000 addition, again, in a design that we feel that would have met with Purcell's approval. Many thanks for this web site.

This was a wonderful way to see the house before taking the personal tour. I hope to know much more about the details of the house when I actually see it on the tour. I have visited several Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Chicago and in Springfield Illinois. I am truly fascinated by the Prairie School and have found your web tour very informative, well done, and easy to navigate. Thanks so much.

Thank you for the website. I have no background in architecture but I was familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright because of his spiral-floor design of the Guggenheim Museum in NYC (I remember as a kid going to the top floor and spiraling down to see the entire museum without having to use the stairs or elevator). Your website made me aware of the Prairie School of architecture.

You have the most architecturally AWESOME website I have ever seen! It's so wonderfully detailed! It makes me wish I lived closer so I could see the Purcell Cutts House again, as well as the other treasures you mention.

Thank you for such a great education!

Jan Bentley
Founder, Kansas City Bungalow Club

We have recently purchased the Catherine Gray house, and your website has been invaluable to us, in understanding the original design and intentions of Purcell.

We will begin this month with an extensive exterior restoration to bring the home back to it's original glory, and hopefully you will update your site with a new picture. (And we can all forget "the most beautiful brick God ever let man make - painted white" -- Wm. Purcell)

In a few months we will begin an extensive interior renovation as well. Thank you again for all the historic pictures and useful information.

Thank-you for such a well-done web presentation and for sharing this with the world. Hopefully, this will inspire future architects to build pragmatic, thoughtful, and beautiful masterpieces. [The Purcell Cutts] home is truly a masterpiece that deserves to be shared.

I am so impressed with this exhibit and computer tour. I did not know that the MIA had such an extensive Prairie House collection and I am so happy to see that the museum has made it a priority to develop the exhibits so effectively. I learned much today about Prairie School through this co mputer-based program and hope that the Museum continues to obtain these important architectural elements an d objects. Great work!

I now live in Winona. What treasures the MIA has from Winona's Prairie School legacy. I'm trying to promote appreciation for this heritage. We are starting an architectural study group at the Winona County Historical Society. Thank you for the beautiful web site and Winona pages.

Thank you for a great website! I spent the happiest years of my childhood in the Parker House. I've been through all the crawl spaces and called the 2nd story in the garage my playhouse. I always loved the house and remember how proud I was to find out it's an historic house. I ran to tell my Mother after watching a young man take the picture of the detail above the front door in the 70's. I need to confess I left my mark, I am responsible for the missing glass in the stained doors to the sunroom. I put my hand right through it. It was an accident I will never forgive myself for as I really did appreciate the beauty of those doors and that home, even as a kid. The photos are an answer to a dream of mine to see it in it's early days. I'm passing this website onto everyone I've ever bragged about that house to. Thank you so much .

What a beautiful site! We presently live in Winona and we are enthralled with the wealth of Prairie School architecture in town. There are not a huge number of buildings, but those few sites are so spectacular. the Winona County Historical Society also has one fo the Merchants board room chairs too. The MIA site is a tribute to the forward thinking King and Watkins families.

WOW! Thank you! I'll certainly pass on news of this fabulous site. The addition of historical pix is especially fine, the layout is beautiful, and the content is SO impressive. I'm very grateful!

I hope you will include links to sites like yours--though I cannot imagine another as fine. Thanks for the pleasure of your images and content.

I think your virtual tour is very nice and organized. I used it to teach my class and stud ents all about the structures of Minnesota. Thank you very much for this wonderful site available to the public. My students and I have learned a lot. I hope others will enjoy it too!

I love this prairie style architectural site. I enjoyed using it as an educational to ol for my school. It is v ery impressive.

My great grandfather would be proud of your site but according to my father and my aunts, he would probably like to see more of his writings included. We still have the the original arm chair that Grandfather Gray had built for Edna so that she could have a comfortable chair to read in. It has the names Edna and William inscribed on the wood on the back. Thank you for all of your work. --Kels Purcell

Not only can I spend hours learning about Prairie School architecture, but this website tipped me off to a great collection I didn't even know existed, right here in the Twin Cities. My partner and I will be visiting the museum again ASAP! (To me, this is why Al Gore invented the Internet)

Many wonderful pictures of prairie school design! Interiors are the hidden treasures behind these wonderful facades!

Absolutely wonderful site. The design alone is worth the visit and the site just furthers the expression of the Prairie School. Easy to navigate, lots of great pictures, and the floor plans are very much appreciated by architecture aficionados. I hope it stays up for a long time. And, I really appreciate the .PDF tour guides which I will use when I visit Minnesota next time.

I am starting an historic renovation of some Prairie Style apartments in Greenville, SC built around 1918. Thanks for the wonderful information! You can see what we are starting with at . They have been neglected for 50+ yrs!

I just read about your site in Old House Interiors magazine. What a wonderful visit I have just h ad. So inspiring ! Here in Nova Scotia, Canada there are few examples of Prairie style homes and I do not often get to the US. It was a real treat to visit the house in such a beautifully laid-out way. Thank-you.

I'm sending this web site to dear friends in Berkeley, Calif ornia who live in a Prairie h ome. Technology is wonderful at times isn't it? To be able to see and receive so much information all at once - what a glorious way to start my day. I've been to the Farmer's Bank in Owatonna, but now I must tour the Purcell-Cutts House. Thanks so much for the inspiration and detailed preservation!

I first saw mention of this exhibit in today's paper. Traveling through the Twin Cities and throughout the State my attention has always been drawn to buildings of the Prairie style. The MIA collection of furniture and architectural details has always delighted myself and friends. The restoration of the Purcell-Cutts Home has also been gratifying. Now, this Web site has been added to this pleasure. My compliments to the persons responsible for the content, the structure and the design of this small gem.

I just read a bout the Unified Vision website in the Institute's magazine and had to visit it for myself. An absolutely wonderful summation of the Prairie School movement right here! I have been telling many of my friends to check it out for themselves.

Thank You

Last year I succeeded in having landmarked as an historic site my boyhood home in Hinsdale, IL designed by Mr. Elmslie, the Summy-Baab House. It was built in 1924, the same year Mr. Elmslie served as Louis H. Sullivan's executor. The original owner, Clayton Summy, was the father of Edna Summy Purcell. Interesting that the house was not designed by Purcell. Actually, it appears from circumstantial evidence that the idea of the house originated as early as 1918, when Purcell and [George Grant Elmslie] remained partners. I was delighted to discover your site and all its attention to a number of Prairie School designers, in addition to Mr. Wright. You have done a wonderful job of tying together various elements of the overall design process. In addition to the above-referenced note about Mr. Elmslie serving as Sullivan's executor, you might also note that the 1903 Sullivan-designed Carson Pirie building includes Elmslie's ornamentation. Indeed, (and taking nothing from the Master) it appears from available documentation that most of the overall building was Elmslie's work. Many thanks for such wonderful information.

Everyone is to be commended for their hard work and dedication towards the d evelopment of this amazing web site. I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude. I have adjusted my trip home to Utah just to see these fabulous works of Prairie Style architecture. Again, thank you all very much and keep up the great work!

i like this program, neat houses, cool and unexpected, very nice, just thought I'd say so, bye

I was surprised to find such a web site! As I live in Chicago, it was wonderful to experience the joys of your institute and this important collection from my home. I was particularly impressed by the clear-cut descriptions used throughout your web site...reminiscent of the Prairie School itself, I thought: replete with function and good form! Congratulations!

Unified Vision Intro| The Collection| Purcell-Cutts House Tour| Architectural Tour| Comments