11/26/2011 02:55 pm ET

Frank Lloyd Wright Home Facing Sale At Auction Spurs Community Action (PHOTOS)

A handicapped-accessible Frank Lloyd Wright home in Rockford, Ill. is facing sale at auction and a newly-formed preservation society is rallying the community to help purchase the home and convert it into a museum.

"Frank Lloyd Wright described this house as a 'little gem,'" said Diane Meltmar, the realtor behind the Gambino Realtors listing. "It was designed for someone in a wheelchair, but it's not a house that when you walk into you think of as being occupied by a disabled person."

The home was built for Kenneth Laurent, a World War II veteran injured in battle who uses a wheelchair, and features subtle changes that improve its accessibility without impacting its beauty, like rounded hallways and wide spaces with low fixtures.

Laurent and his wife, Phyllis, have lived on the property for 57 years, but are relocating to an assisted living facility, according to the Rockford Register Star.

The six-room ranch, seated on 1.2 acres of heavily-wooded land, will be auctioned off by Wright Auction House in Chicago Dec. 15, and is expected to bring in much less than the original $875,000 listing price, Meltmar said.

Several community members who want to see the house converted to a museum say it's a vital part of the town's history and would attract tourists, the Registar Star reports. The Laurent House Foundation, founded about two years ago, has been meeting and fundraising in the hopes of placing the winning bid.

To make a contribution to the fundraising effort, contact the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois at 815-962-2110.



Frank Lloyd Wright's Kenneth Laurent House