820 sq foot Frank Lloyd Wright Guest House suitable for up to 5 guests
About Pete Plunkett
Welcome guests. I am Pete Plunkett, the Innkeeper for the Elam House. I live in the Elam House with my son, Daran. I was born 5 months after my father Warren Plunkett, purchased the home in March, 1959 from S.P. 'Pearl' Elam. I grew up in the Elam House, went to school and graduated from Austin High School, obtained a BA degree in Business Management from St. Thomas College and a JD degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1985. I have practicing law in Austin, Minnesota since 1985. In 1987, I purchased a home across the street from the Elam House and lived there until 2006 when I moved back into the Elam House. I am also a slalom water skier competing in local, regional and national tournaments; a competition control-line model airplane pilot; an instrument rated private pilot; an Amateur Extra Class radio operator; an ice hockey player and coach; and an avid duck and pheasant hunter. I have lived in the Twin Cities, and Oklahoma City, but have spent the majority of my life in Austin. I know the Elam House very well and look forward to telling you about it and introducing you to Austin, Minnesota if you have never visited here before.
Pete Plunkett purchased this House in 1959
Why Pete Plunkett chose Austin
This is our family home. We enjoy the home very much and since it is the second largest Usonian home by Frank Lloyd Wright, we wanted to allow other people interested in Wright designs to stay overnight and experience the home in a more intimate manner. Wright drew plans for over 1000 homes. 532 of these designs were built and approximately 400 remain. 13 of these homes are in Minnesota and 4 are in Southern Minnesota. The Elam House is a rare treasure indeed!
What makes this House unique
Enjoy the fantastic views from either living room. Both living rooms have large windows that create one full wall of glass. Some of the windows in the main living room are Nine feet tall and three and a half feet wide. The three floor to ceiling fireplaces are a hallmark of Frank Lloyd Wright. The soaring ceilings in the living rooms are outstanding and give the effect of the room exploding upwards upon entrance. The rare cypress wood lining the ceilings and walls and the meticulous limestone work are wonderful to view and examine. Of course, there is nothing better than relaxing in the house during a thunderstorm. The rain hitting the stone coated steel roof and watching the storm roll by through the windows, it's almost as if you are out in the storm. Wright had the special gift of being able to bring the outdoors inside his homes and the Elam house is no exception.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
A special experience.
The opportunity to stay in any actual Frank Lloyd Wright residence is special. Though limited to only a portion of the total house, the area available for the stay is more than adequate. Excellent host. Clean, very well-equipped in a beautiful neighborhood. Highly recommended to all - especially fans of architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright in particular.
Was looking for a spot to spend the night before a professional conference in Austin, MN and discovered Elam House. Our stay was brief, but still had time to enjoy the unique chance to not just see a FLW house exterior, but to experience the rare opportunity to “live” it from the inside out. Peter Plunkett is a wonderful and welcoming host; our travel schedule kept changing and Peter was really flexible and accommodating with check-in and showing us around. The patio at the guest entrance has nice seating and setup for an outdoor meal and a lovely view of the spacious yard on a hillside slope. Had we stayed longer (or planned better), this would have been a perfect place to hang out, make dinner and enjoy the living and outdoor space with a nice bottle of wine, music and good company. (I was traveling with my teenage children, so we enjoyed snacks from the gas station and played cribbage and Yahtzee, but fun nonetheless.) A very laidback and easy-going stay!
Such a unique and interesting house. Beautiful, peaceful but calming also.
A great experience.
The best way to experience a Frank Lloyd Wright property.
Pleasant stay in a one-of-a-kind venue
Very interesting storyline to go along with a FLW property. Property has been kept up well and is continuing to go through restoration and maintenance procedures, but not in a way that impacts the guest's experience. Houses need constant work to stay in tip top condition and the Plunkett family is doing their part to keep this FLW property in prime condition.
We enjoyed our stay at this Frank Lloyd Wright treasure!
The Elam House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is located in Austin, Minnesota, Home of the world famous Hormel Foods Corporation.
SPAM Museum - Guests are encouraged to Tour the world famous SPAM Museum in downtown Austin. The SPAM Museum features audios, videos and displays depicting the rich 123 year history of the Hormel Foods Corporation. The self-guided museum tour is free, interactive, educational and fun for all ages.
Hormel Historic Home - In addition to the SPAM Museum, tour the Hormel Historic Home which will open a window into the life of the George A. Hormel family. The 1871 home is where Hormel lived with his wife and son when he founded Hormel Foods, Inc. Now restored to early 1900s decor, the 14-room home is open for self-guided tours.
J.C. Hormel Nature Center - Cross Country Ski or enjoy the wildlife at the J. C. Hormel Nature Center. This is a 507 acre center which features hardwoods, restored prairie, ponds, pine forests and Dobbins Creek. Ten miles of hiking and cross country ski trials, as well as a one-third mile paved trail. There is also a three story observation tower, canoe rentals and cross country ski rentals available for use on site.
Shooting Star Bike Trail - Go for a bike ride on the Shooting Star Bike Trail.
Belle Paddle Boat - Go for a boat ride on East Side Lake on the 'Belle' paddle boat.
Paramount Theatre - Take in a movie or a play at the Historic Paramount Theatre. The Paramount Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, originally opened September 14, 1929 and was designed for stage theatre and first run movies. It is just one of a few Atmospheric Theatres remaining in Minnesota. The Theatre was designed to represent being in the courtyard of a quaint Spanish village with twinkling stars and rolling clouds overhead.
Sola Fide Observatory - Enjoy star gazing at the Sola Fide Observatory. This observatory is located on three acres of land, donated to Austin by a local doctor in 1991. Inside the 12 foot ash dome is a 10-inch refractor telescope with a five-inch refractor mounted on the top. The facility is open to the public when volunteers are available to show visitors constellations and other celestial bodies.
Ice Skating - Go ice skating on our backyard rink or at Riverside or Packer arena or one of the many outdoor rinks in town.
Feel free to take a walk, bike or roller blade in our quiet residential neighborhood. If you bring a canoe, you could launch it nearby (about a block away) and paddle down turtle creek.
These are just a few of the attractions/activities that Austin has to offer. However, the main attraction for our guests, of course, is staying at the Elam Guest House! Lounge in the guest living room and take in a video on Frank Lloyd Wright. Or just read a book or a magazine while having a cup of tea or coffee by the fireplace. Cook your own meal in our fully equipped kitchen or dine out at one of Austin's fine restaurants. Don't forget that we provide a tour of the entire house in addition to the guest area as part of your stay. We hope you will enjoy looking at every nook and cranny of our beautiful home.