KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed cooperative housing community in Kalamazoo is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It was a grassroots thing by people after (World War II) who were looking for a family-friendly, distinctive place to live,” Peter Copeland, vice president of the Parkwyn Village Association, said.

In 1946, six young scientists employed at the Upjohn Company and their families looking for a place to call their own set out to begin the process. They bought a 47-acre lot of farmland overlooking Lorenz Lake (now Asylum Lake) for $18,000, the Parkwyn Village website said. With no developer, the group began looking for an architect to design a site plan to create a modern look and feel to their community.

That September, after looking at several architects, the group settled on world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

“He agreed to do their project… and they finally reached an agreement in January or February of 1947 that Wright would design the site plan for a fee of $1,500,” Copeland said.

After months of back and forth, a final site plan was accepted in October 1947. Copeland said it included 40 circular lots, roads and two common areas or parks that total about seven acres.

Once the plan was accepted, the families started paying to lay down the road and install utilities underground, which “cost them extra but they wanted a place that emphasized the natural beauty of the area.”

Wright’s plan included landscaping, which added over 1,000 trees to the community.

With the 47-acre transformation underway, the families started selling lots and houses started to get built.

“Wright did not require that he design all the houses for Parkwyn Village. He only required that if someone else designed a house next to one that he designed, he wanted the right to veto that design if it conflicted or was incompatible with his design,” Copeland said.

The architect designed five houses for the cooperative housing community that reflects his Usonian design concept. Other houses were designed by Kalamazoo architects Norman F. Carver Jr. and George W. Sprau.

“Recognition by the National Park Service is a great reminder of the neighborhood’s history and significance to our community,” Les Tung, president of Parkwyn Village Association, said in a press release. “We are grateful for this important designation and plan to commemorate the occasion as part of our 75th-anniversary celebration in September.”

Parkwyn Village is one of five properties in West Michigan that joined National Register of Historic Places in the first half of 2022. The four other properties includes: