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204-206 Wasserman Block


My mind’s eye isn’t necessarily sharper than yours. I just wish that it worked more reliably; more predictably. Perhaps I should be grateful that it functions at all.

In the reverse “domino theory” of Agincourt, every consequence seems to require a cause. Case in point has been the necessity of establishing a backstory for young Anson Tennant, the circumstances the brought him to compete for Agincourt’s new public library in 1914: the dollhouse for his sister’s Christmas of 1905; the addition to the family home in 1908; studying architecture in Chicago during 1909-1912; returning to open his own office that year and offer his services to the region. Those and other small steps helped me understand what the trajectory of his career might have been. It’s that most difficult task for the Communist historian: predicting the past.

One of this steps was the design of his studio-office in the Wasserman Block (told here before) and the first artifact was “Als ik kan,” the stained glass window that came from the fertile imagination of Mr Dan Salyards. That spectacularly successful artifact won a prize at the Minnesota State Fair and will soon find its home in a dutch door that could be crafted by Mr Brad Rutter. I have consistently depended upon the creativity of others.

That door became Anson’s professional face to the world, a direct expression of his emerging aesthetic and the preface to his first important work, the Agincourt Public Library. But while that door offered symbolic access to Tennant’s design point-of-view—to his mind’s eye—it also provided access to his studio-apartment. So today I spoke with a talented young man who’s actually volunteered to render aspects of the project for our next exhibition this fall. He spoke about his own storyline (which I thoroughly admire) but we also discussed this notion of when Anson’s office might look like. I’ve already described it in some of the earliest entries here. Now I’m happy to report that our new collaborator has agreed to take this project on: When you passed Tennant’s partially-open dutch door and glanced inside, what would you have seen? I think I’ve seen it in my mind’s eye.

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By the way, these aren’t it, but they’re helping to bracket what I do see.



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