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Patrick E. Byrne residence

Purcell, Feick and Elmslie
Bismarck, North Dakota  1909/1910
Photograph by Richard Kronick, 2007

Patrick E. Byrne residence
Purcell, Feick and Elmslie
Bismarck, North Dakota  1909/1910
Photograph by Richard Kronick, 2007
Clearing the Underbrush. OM! So much of what wants doing takes more time than ever becomes directly visible to the kind readers of the Grind. The Prairie School Exchange, which was designed as a placeholder for things that weren't part of P&E or the Progressives On-Line (both of which are related to my HyperFind software) needs a complete overhaul. Frames in web pages are so past tense, but reference material is not suited to those which are Flash-driven. While the P&E pages serve well enough (even though they look more and more primitive to me), the Progressives part of the site is still mired in the late 1990s, and the database has never been fully hooked up through the web server. I doubt a third of what's in the desktop view of HyperFind makes it through to the web interface. Ideally, I want to sit down and rewrite the HyperFind code to take advantage of the many advances in web technology, thus combining all three areas of Organica into a, eh-hem, organic whole. It's a bit overwhelming to contemplate the vast amount of time and energy required, so I console my frustration with the backlog of contributed materials and incomplete existing pages.
We start with eight images taken earlier this year by Richard Kronick of the Patrick E. Byrne residence (Bismarck, North Dakota 1909). This is the very first commission to carry the Purcell, Feick, & Elmslie title block. Prior to these shots, I had not seen a color view. One sweet discovery is the delicate tracery of sawed wood found in a triangular decorative sawed wood panel tucked up beneath the eave. Given there was funding of this tidbit on the exterior, I can only hope one day for funding for me to get to a place so far off my personal trail as Bismarck to see what's left inside. The Byrne house and the Louis Heitman residence in Helena, Montana, seem sometimes like they might as well be on Mars for the likelihood of my feet ever getting there.
Photograph by Richard Kronick, 2007
Contacts from readers of this column have been uniformly supportive of my continued efforts to sit in my chair, however. Beyond the many images contributed over the past year by John Panning, Tom Shearer, and Richard Kronick, as well as the current owners of several P&E houses, visitors in the flesh here in LA have caused me to open storage boxes whose contents have not seen light in the decade since I moved away from Minnesota or even since the 1980s. I have found things of which I have no recollection, which is astonishing. Has my memory gotten that bad? A wealth of accompanying letters and notes sent along with these documents by those who gave them to me provides me with a context and provenance, but still I have a slightly scary feeling like parts of my mind have slipped away. Something of this sense of evaporation came up, too, during my recent teaching stint at UCLA, where I realized I had actually forgotten cold the name of the Minnesota State Arts Commission. All this has moved me to reacquaint myself with what I do have for review--and share that process here.

(Books, books, books everywhere)
Photograph by William Gray Purcell

W. C. Gray residence #2
Oak Park, Illinois  circa 1890s
Source: William Gray Purcell Papers

William Cunningham Gray residence #2

319 N. Kenilworth [demolished]
Oak Park, Illinois  circa 1890
Source: William Gray Purcell Papers 
A missing piece of paper surfaced during recent excavations to kick off completion of the  "Review of Gebhard Thesis" manuscript written by Purcell in the 1950s. This is really Purcell's autobiography, written in the third person to nurse along his hopes for a complete biographical treatment out of the doctoral dissertation being prepared on the firm by David Gebhard. The new section now up is William Gray Purcell - Part I., where he clearly states the critical nature of his childhood experiences at Island Lamp Camp to his philosophical development and the fundamental importance of having been raised by his grandparents, particularly the literary exposure. Switching between his effort at third person and the urge to quote himself directly (with the occasional slip of the tense in between), Purcell recounts the two most significant adventures of his youth, a trip to the gold fields of Alaska in 1900, and the journey to Kowaliga, Alabama, a year later to offer assistance with what we would now call low cost housing for an African-American community.

Sketch for a cottage
William Gray Purcell

Community planning for William Benson
Kowaliga, Alabama  1901
Source: William Gray Purcell Papers

It doesn't matter this was never built. The whole place was later flooded out with the creation of Lake Martin. Although Benson's home escaped the floodwaters, it burned shortly thereafter. A fine account of William Benson's important but now submerged achievements for his community can be found here.
Like the earlier trip to Alaska, the Kowaliga experience arose from the travels of his grandfather. W. C. Gray did a series of  pieces in The Interior exposing the horrors of sharecropping after traveling through the South. There he had met William Benson, an educated African-American who wanted to build housing and other town facilities for the local community. Dr. Gray volunteered the services of his grandson as an architect and Purcell duly ventured down to see what could be done. After spending the first night hidden under a bed to avoid getting swept up by a lynch mob (being caught as a white Yankee troublemaker staying with Benson), Purcell did some surveying and prepared some sketches. The altruistic program of what amounted to Purcell's first client was fundamentally impossible to realize under the circumstances, but the experience was an eye opener to the young architect-in-training. Nearly a century later the African-American congregation struggling to restore the Stewart Memorial Church in Minneapolis took great heart in this story, as well as those concerning the Gray family's participation in the underground railroad in the years prior to the Civil War. I was a little less pleased to hear a nationally prominent historian get up in front of this assembly and plagiarize verbatim my own writing on these events as his own, without the slightest shame.

K. Paul Carson, Jr. residence
William Gray Purcell, architect
Edina, Minnesota 1941

That's Mary Carson sitting on the terrace, ca. 1950s.

Living room, 2007
Oscar Owre residence
Purcell, Feick, and Elmslie
Minneapolis, Minnesota  1911

Somewhere underneath that paint above the fireplace there may still remain a mural painting by Charles S. Chapman. The Owres never liked it, apparently, and it was soon painted over. Additional coats since may have actually preserved the work. Cotton swab, anyone?
Other news. I notice that both P&E books issued in the past year have been remaindered. I saw copies of the Dixie Legler tome piled up for $8 each, and the Gebhard volume shows up on eBay regularly for about the same amount. The work of the firm, however, continues to rise in cost, even with the occasional markdown on the way to closing. The Oscar Owre house in Minneapolis is currently on the market for $1,499,000, but that price has dropped $100,000 since the listing went up. While not directly a P&E house, the K. Paul Carson, Jr. residence in nearby Edina has sold for $620,000, off a listed price of $679,000. I remember Paul Carson walking me around the property explaining the conservation easement of three and a half acres of the five acre parcel purchased just before World War II. No doubt that had something to do with the adjustment of price; that, and the huge revivalist McMansions that have effulged from the nearby ridge, looming down in all their overwrought scale over this once tucked away prairie suburban ranch house.

Since P&E had designed an unbuilt house for his father, the newly wed Carson and his wife Mary contacted Purcell. He favored them with the plans for the house now on 6001 Pine Grove Lane as a wedding gift. Drafted by Fred Strauel, the plan was realized in phases over decades. The last main section was raised only in the very early 1990s, a studio extension with large thermal plate windows opening onto the surrounding woods, warmed by a pot bellied stove. I see that all the little leaded glass panels installed in the living room windows to commemorate family events over the years have been removed, leaving the new owner to start over with giving the house a family history. Paul said that was going to happen, though I wonder if they will ever have the meaning loose in the world that they had in the windows of this house. A historical note: down on the acreage now protected by the easement there are two pine trees named Bill and Cecily, "volunteers" who took up residence shortly after the house was built.

'Til next time.



Bank draft form
Exchange State Bank
Grand Meadow, Minnesota  1910
Source: William Gray Purcell Papers
Pass the Ammunition. Yes, it's been a while. I tell all, but you can choose to look at the pretty pictures from Tom Shearer and skip my personal gargling if you want. But kindly interested people email and ask how's it going, why haven't I put up anything new for so long, etc., so I thought I'd cover the whole shebang. Before this lengthy catchup/catchall commences, feast your eyes on this exquisite achievement in photography (apparent to anyone who has ever tried to take a picture of that space):

Rotunda mosaic
Watkins Medical Company Offices

George Washington Maher, architect
Winona, Minnesota
Photograph by Tom Shearer, 2007

Frieze panel, probably from Midland Terra-Cotta Company catalog
Detroit Lakes Public Library

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Photograph by Tom Shearer, 2007
Editor's Note: Readers disinterested in candor about real life may wish to skip to this. Someone who obviously doesn't read any blogs said about the Grind, "Mark, why would you want to be so vulnerable to strangers?" I replied, "This is my experience. Am I supposed to wait to be dead before I talk about happened to me on this earth?" Write from what you know, I've been told time and again. So, this is what I can acknowledge as the moment. The rejoinder was, "Well, Mark, you are quaint for sure." What does that mean, anyway? Not quite interesting enough to qualify as eccentric?

The past six weeks have been an example of "life is what happens while you make other plans." We can have a financial recap best summarized with the question, "How can you receive more money than you've had in years and have less at the same time?" I suppose because everywhere there has grown a deficit. In nearly every direction there seems to rise up a debt, unmet obligation, or deferred expense. And some serious ones for my research are still out there, rustling in the Prairie brush, like an unpaid bill for both photocopies at NAA and the researcher who did the work. How do I survive with this much involuntary shame? For the first time in a long while, however, the ISP that serves this site is paid in full, along with the power and the phone line that also drive delivery of these pages to the hundreds of serious users (10 or more page views) who cruise freely through every month. That took $400. At least I have been able to buy groceries, a bit of a novel change from the past few years. Imagine, eating protein on a daily basis.

Then the twelve year old car, which has barely had an an annual oil change since the economic crash of 9/11, decided it was done, and that sucked up another $1500--in major bi-weekly chunks to cover the volunteered use of someone else's Amex card. Thankfully, the long suffering auto shuddered to a stop close by a decent garage. Boy, did I luck out. Did I mention I owed my doctor money? Try having even a minor stroke with no health insurance. Real nice guy, he sees me whether I have cash or not, and gives me samples of the necessary drugs I cannot afford, but the office visits still rack up a tote. Oh, and a tooth broke, never mind the three empty molar spaces waiting, a bit like Wendy for Peter Pan, to have $14,000 in implants. And, screw it, I finally threw out the wobbly, carpet gouging desk chair salvaged from the dumpster and bought one on half-price clearance at Staples ($49). How rude to think of sitting here without a backache.

A Prairie dose of LSD-25

Catalog module, possibly Midland Terra-Cotta Company
Former bank building
Aitkin, Minnesota
Photograph by Tom Shearer, 2007
When I started working again, the setup was designed to provide with enough part-time hours to pay the bills and let me concentrate, threadbare existence notwithstanding, on writing. As if. That lasted about two months. Treading water doesn't really get you anywhere, it turns out. Then the nature of having two hands present in an architectural practice took over. I started working overtime to get a project out and, if you know anything about small architectural offices, by the end of that first stretch the available motions are become indispensable as a general rule. Batter up. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the opportunity. But I get home after the average ten hour day now--including an hour plus of commute, depending on rush traffic and surrounding events--and I am drained. This 50-something carcass sinks into my new chair and stares blankly at the computer screen. I am supposed to be doing what here? I know there are those of you who read this out there who are ALSO raising children, so forgive my bleats in minor key. (What it is with me and puns today?)


The big picture, threatening the little pictures

Iconic Griffith Park Observatory, newly restored and expanded, in peril

Now, overlay the day job with the events since the last Grind. I work near Griffith Park. While their own house in the Hollywood Hills is under construction, the people whose employment kindly rescued me from potential homelessness and starvation, never mind running out of cat litter, are staying in a 1925 Rudolph Schindler remodel that butts up against the park edge. In case you missed it, 1,000 acres of the park were consumed and the conflagration came within fifty feet of this significant house. The fire department camped on the street for three nights after everyone in the neighborhood was evacuated. Knowing the dog was safe because I brought him back down to the office, I faulted myself later for not having the courage to suggest taking the Hiroshige woodblock prints off the walls while I watched on television as walls of flame surged down the hillside. These heavily populated hills are filled with houses by Schindler, Neutra, the Wrights (Lloyd, Eric and Frank), and a host of other important architects, and think of what might have happened by recollecting all the houses by Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck lost only a few years ago in a similar event in the hills behind Berkeley. Blessedly, the heroic efforts of LAFD were triumphant and none of the multi-million dollar houses, or the Observatory, were damaged. But you can imagine what all that did, and the damage to the park is still doing, to traffic. Everyone got to share in the moment.

Next up, one of my dearest friends, an art history professor, went on hegira in Asia. While she ran an arc through Singapore, Vietnam, China, and Japan, I covered an installment of her classes at UCLA. Forgive me, but I just haven't thought all that much about H. H. Richardson, Burnham & Root, the City Beautiful, etc., for a long while. Getting back into all that and preparing three Powerpoint presentations took most of a week's "free time." If I felt exhausted when I started, I fairly staggered to the parking ramp after three hours of class--espresso during break not withstanding.

Of course, I subverted the syllabus into a troll through Sullivan and P&E by visiting the World's Columbian Exposition. But I'm telling you, I haven't taught since I was at Taliesin, and these were graduate students, to boot. I asked, "Any questions?" and was there for another half hour discussing reasons why the facade of 12th century St. Gilles du Gard bears a startling resemblance to Trinity Church. That's why they call it historical revivalism, folks. I like to think there are now one or two people in the ranks of the ASID student chapter who question eclecticism, but maybe I kid myself.

The Golden Door, Transportation Building
Louis Sullivan, architect
World's Columbian Exposition, 1893

And I did make the point about one door for democracy, and three doors divvied up between nobility and everyone else. Democracy corrupted by the lusty hedonism of capital, of course, means you can come inside only if you can pay. One door is less expensive to maintain, a nice dovetail. And no, you don't get to vote on how much it costs. That is a matter for the private sector. Wherever that is in a world of public commerce. Well, naturally, just look for the back door. Have I been reading Purcell or what?

Elixir, a sanctuary of the spirit now departed
Photograph courtesy Richard Kronick

A bright spot in all this was the visit of my good writer/editor/musician friend Richard Kronick from Minnesota. Dick has done more than anyone over the years to encourage me to keep neurons active for writing the P&E book. I took a day off to talk about that, and other things, with him. Although he had the poor fortune to be here on a Monday when most things of interest are shuttered, I did manage to get him through the Greene & Greene neighborhood of Arroyo Seco in Pasadena and, through a fortuitous chance, into the otherwise closed Rudolph Schindler house in Hollywood. Since Dick has a mystical bent akin to mine own, we also touched down in Bodhi Tree Bookstore. One last opportunity arose for refreshment at nearby Elixir, a wonderful teahouse on Melrose with a hidden Zen garden that has been forced out of business by a merchant in Beverly Hills who wanted to expand and simply offered the landlord double the amount of rent. Yes, it is the City of Angels, but they don't tell you many of them are the ones who sided with Lucifer. The rent already being outrageous, well, out, out damned pleasant refuge. The house and garden may still be there in some form, but the great crew of people who were the spirit of the elixir are unemployed. A favored escape from urban insanity that I had treasured is now gone. And that is a potent loss to my wellness, a real sign to me LA is less of a place I want to be.

Dick enjoys ferreting out the organic riffs that percolate through the right writers, and is constantly sending me delicious snippets of his finds. He makes me think about the ways other people perceive architecture and express their understanding. Usually something will tumble out of me in response--sometimes no doubt to Dick's disappointment, because he places a strong emphasis on the literature and, sadly, being so often the man behind the curtain, I don't follow the action on the stage as much as I should. Dick shares a moment of Claude Bragdon:

"We are all of us participators in a world of concrete music, geometry and number ... so mathematically related and coordinated that our pygmy bodies, equally with the farthest star, vibrate to the music of the spheres. There is a Beautiful Necessity [emphasis in the original] which rules the world, which is a law of nature and equally a law of art, for art is idealized creation: nature carried to a higher power by reason of its passage through a human consciousness... . Art therefore in one of its aspects is the weaving of a pattern, the communication of an order and a method ... no masterpiece was ever created by the conscious following to set rules, for the true artist works unconsciously, instinctively ... an analysis of any masterpiece reveals the fact that its author ... has 'followed the rules without knowing them.' "

Claude Bragdon: The Beautiful Necessity, pages 29-30

and I chuffed back:

In the world that has of late wholly claimed my thoughts, I see that the notion of an individual creating anything is an illusion. There is no separate individual, so no separate act of creation is possible. The view that there is 'someone creating something' is an inverted perspective. The whole is expressing a single movement through a complete cycle of energy ("the Great Life"). Our poor, limited, fragmented comprehension, rooted in the falsehood of duality, forms imaginary constructs with an incomplete (linear) set of "elements" by which we define the actions of a 'process.' It's all a conversation to amuse ourselves. The universe is busy creating itself, regardless of whether we are awake or asleep. The ephemeral churnings of our minds are merely sparks created by the friction of our efforts to find a way to pretend to be in charge.

Still obsessing after individual meaning, we all remain beautiful necessities.

Dick probably deserves better from me for his efforts. Note to self: Get out of cynical mood. Share the joy offered.


The Zen surprise off busy Melrose, lost like Atlantis to LA greed
Photograph courtesy Richard Kronick

On a brighter note...

Yes, more gifting from Tom Shearer...isn't this great?!

Detail, cornice
Frieze panels from Midland Terra-Cotta Company

(Catalog, plate 47)
Building currently known as the Powers Hotel
Fargo, North Dakota
Photograph by Tom Shearer, 2007

Rudolph Schindler's house on King's Road, with your host looking out
Hollywood, California  1922
Photograph courtesy Richard Kronick

This is the Lake Place of Southern California, and should be on everyone's list of required places to see. Now run as an exhibition gallery called the MAK Center, saved by the Austrians!

Now, the coup de grace. A week after that refreshing visit, I caught The Cold From Hell, and was black-holed into bed for five days. So everything ELSE could fall behind, huh?

Still in one thing leads to another mode, during this lengthy hiatus from updating Organica I spent an entire weekend to help along a Frank Lloyd Wright media project that might possibly turn into something of major interest. I confess, it was a heady prospect dangled before me to meet Brad Pitt and Ridley Scott, both of whom have long been interested in FLLW; but of course I was merely anonymously doctoring a movie treatment--albeit one for which the producer has a license from the FLLW Foundation, a fact that my connections there were able to verify before I spent the energy. No Brad Pitt sighting for me, alas, though I did otherwise get to see the backside of a sweet little Modern artist studio he's putting up on his Los Feliz estate. He's got good clean taste in architecture, apparently; hey, Angelina took him to Fallingwater for his birthday. If anything comes of the effort, as unlikely as that seems, I will update when news warrants. {Don't you think it is a great day when I can put Brad Pitt into a blog on Purcell and Elmslie?}

That involvement entailed a trip to the Getty Research Institute to consult the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives microfiche, for whose immediate vicinity I always give thanks. I was also motivated up to the Beige Acropolis by email requests for research information. A class at St. Thomas College in Minnesota regularly focuses on P&E and uses Organica as a resource. While one student was interested in tracking down more on Marion Alice Parker, another was after anything else known about Harry Franklin Baker. Baker was a Minneapolis landscape designer who worked with P&E, but little (known to me, anyway) has survived beyond what is already available on the site.

Detail of reprint cover
Introduction by Christopher Vernon
University of Massachusetts Press

Instead, I suggested that the student might want to look at William [Wilhelm] Miller (18691938), the landscape architect for the Amy Hamilton Hunter residence (Flossmoor, Illinois 1916). Miller produced a publication of seminal importance titled The Prairie Spirit in Landscape Gardening. Down under Caravan member Christopher Vernon wrote, if I may say so, a superb introduction to the republication of this essential text in 2002; a preview is available at Google Books. I have earlier noted the elusive nature of my communication with Christopher.  His estimable work is a great contribution to the study of Prairie landscaping. Like Griffin, he went to Australia, but the distance seems only to have strengthened his perspective. Indeed, it was only because of his research that your humble servant came to realize who Miller was to P&E, and also, now evidenced, to Frank Lloyd Wright. G'day, Christopher.


The indexes to the FLLW correspondence, comprised of numerous thick volumes, are a marvel of detail and thoroughness that conceal a number of unidentified treasures. I'd never thought to look for anything there from Miller, but told my inquiring student researcher that I would. Lo! Behold one penny postcard, dated March 29, 1934.  Miller says, and sympathy arises:

"I too have been a strayer from the beaten path and alternately persecuted and neglected by the world's theological officialdom (American Academics for the Advancement of Material and Literal-minded Scientists), fearful of losing their livings by not tracting to University trustees or directors of big business."

In a comment for which I sympathize in the metaphor, but only the Minneapolis police arrested Frank Lloyd Wright and the other guy had the real Inquisition on his back, he then says:

"You might be the reincarnation of Galileo!

But he does continue in a vein familiar to those who mine beneath the surface of the Prairie School:

"In the Rig Veda, wherein Brahma is not even mentioned...but the "Golden Egg" and Prajnapati are, and from the latter emanates all the hierarchies of "Creators." Hinted at or implied in the Rig Veda are the Monad or point of First Causes, THAT, but 'the Logos, which is the expression of THAT is passed over in silence. In its turn...the point within the circle was not yet the architect but the cause of that architect...'

Does that sound like Ouspensky? (But it's not)."

Our good Caravan fellow Dick Kronick will no doubt be pleased to see the overt reference to Ouspensky and quotation from a Theosophical text, and I was surprised to know that Miller worked for Wright before responding to George Elmslie's call for plantings at his cousin's house. Curiously, he retired to Beaumont, California, only a few miles up the highway from where Purcell was bedridden with tuberculosis at the Pottenger Sanatorium in Banning at the same time. Quite the cluster of these P&E folks wound up near Purcell in southern California, from client Charles R. Crane in Palm Springs to Team members Marion Alice Parker and Lawrence Clapp in coastal Laguna Beach, and Douglas Donaldson, from the Minneapolis Handicraft Guild, in Hollywood.

To set the mood for the following:

You've Got To Be Kidding Me Department. I have vented here before about the benighted destruction of the main banking room wall at the Merchants National Bank in Winona for the sake of having space to let someone's ego to expand into the building next door. Last week I received an email request for use of one of Tom Shearer's images of the bank's leaded glass, and a brief exchange came about from comments made as I referred the individual onward. There was some fantasy going around Winona that the mural from the wall had been saved and deposited at the Northwest Architectural Archives. The director of the local county historical society--a nice guy whom I met years ago while curating the P&E galleries for the Minnesota 1900 exhibition--was said to be trying to get it back to hang in a new museum space proposed for an existing parking lot. Furthermore, this information was related to me as being direct from some present bank honcho. Back in the 1990s a beaming bank vice president explained to me that the mural was "destroyed from water damage and the wall accordingly had to come down..." (anyone there ever hear of restoration?). Plus someone would have very likely mentioned to me if the tatters of the mural were lodged, or lobbed, at the University of Minnesota, but you know how sometimes the heart wants to take that great leap and believe something just because it would be better if it were so. Well, of course, some research had to be pursued immediately. Asking the right person, like a friend of someone who was with the bank for 45 years, makes it clear that nothing so wishful could be further from the truth. Departed, lost, gone forever, the permanent loss of this irreplaceable piece of heritage is impeccably confirmed.




Merchants National Bank
Purcell, Feick, and Elmslie
Winona, Minnesota   1912

Main banking room, 1914
Autochrome Lumiere, by William Gray Purcell

Every time I see this banking room image I am reminded of the man who sold me my abovementioned car in 1998. "Take a long look at it now. It's never going to look this good again."

How many people, I wonder, think that there's a box put by somewhere with everything like that which should have been saved (preferably on the original wall, in this case), when in fact the only things still there are the guilty consciences of the ignorant fools whose throes of cultural clumsiness destroyed better than they, or anyone in their community, will ever have again? Eventually, I think someone will be able to organize a "Dancing on Their Graves" tour. We can all go to the final resting places of those faulty stewards, as mad as Denethor in Lord of the Rings ("Bring wood and oil..." he commands from the gutter of his soul, brandishing a flaming torch), whose deficient spirits brought down the Babson house, the Edison Shops, the Madison bank, the Decker house, and so on. We can play a little ragtime and stomp our feet in the appropriate places, expectorating as moved.

Now for something cooler...

Dot sizes:   = 1,000+   = 100 - 999   = 10 - 99   = 1 - 9 visits

Fun Stuff. If you came in through the front door, you may have noticed that a Cluster Map has been added to the main page. This neat little free service allows a graphical representation of the geographical locations of people who visit the site. It's been up for all of five days, but already the geographical reach of the site is showing up. It'll be neat to see this in a year, because the log analyzer reports visitors from over 70 countries since 2005. Not bad business for a firm that closed in 1921! And whoever did this map has a great sense of place. They put the shadow of Atlantis right where it is supposed to be, where apparently someone likes the Prairie School. With that, I'll try to get back on a timely schedule as things Grind on.

research courtesy mark hammons