Frank Lloyd Wright's SC Johnson Campus and Wingspread Field Trip - Racine

  • March 28, 2019
  • Racine
  • 39


  • Member ($54) plus Guest ($69) will cost a total of $123. Registration deadline: March 20

Estimated Trip Duration:
Oakwood West: 7:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Capitol Lakes: 7:20 AM - 6:20 PM
East Towne Sears: 7:45 AM - 6:00 PM

Registration Fee includes Badger Bus Charter Service with Wi-Fi and lunch at the Reefpoint Brew House. There is no charge for the tours at the SC Johnson Campus and Wingspread.

Registration Deadline: March 20

Note: If you cancel after that date, there will be no refund.

                                             Administration Building's Great Workroom

We will be visiting three of Frank Lloyd Wright's most iconic buildings: the SC Johnson Administration Building, the Research Tower, and Wingspread.

SC Johnson Administration Building and Research Tower                   

We will have a ninety minute tour of the SC Johnson Administration Building and the Research Tower. 

Administration Building


             Covered Bridge Connecting the Administration Building to the Tower    

Designed by Wright for the company's president, Herbert F. "Hib" Johnson, the Administration Building was constructed from 1936 to 1939.  Wright told LIFE magazine that the building "was designed to be an inspiring a place to work in as any cathedral was designed to worship in. "

The Great Workroom, as the main floor of the Administration Building is called, covers a half acre and is meant to promote efficiency and direct access between the roughly 200 employees. The curved desks, which include rounded drawers and special posture chairs designed by Wright himself, sit within a forest of columns which workers nicknamed mushrooms or golf tees. The constant repetition of curves, from desks to drawers to the outlines of the mezzanine balconies, recalls the building's own streamlined profile.

                            Research Tower                                                  Research Tower Interior

The Research Tower was built between 1944-1950 and provides a vertical counterpoint to the horizontal administration building. It is one of only two existing high rise buildings by Wright.  The Research Tower is no longer in use because of the change in fire safety codes.   The research labs shown on the tour have been set up to appear frozen in time, including beakers, scales, centrifuges, archival photographs and letters about the building.

The Administration Building and the Research Tower were designated as National Historic Landmarks in 1976.


After lunch we will have a one hour tour of Wingspread, the residence Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built in 1938-39 for the Herbert Fisk Johnson family.  Wingspread is the last and largest of Wright's Prairie houses.   It contains a 30-foot-high chimney, with five fireplaces on three levels.  The Johnson family lived in Wingspread for twenty years but now is used as a conference center.  Wingspread was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.




SC Johnson Administration Building and Research Tower

Though not physically strenuous, the tour does include standing, walking and climbing stairs both indoors and outside. This is a walking tour, including a two-three block walk outside.

The Research Tower is not handicapped accessible and visitors are required to climb up and down 45 steps in a tight spiral staircase.

Wheelchair-accessible elevators are available in Fortaleza Hall. The Golden Rondelle Theater and Fortaleza Hall are both walker and wheelchair accessible. The main floor of the Great Workroom is accessible via ramp. 
For the hearing impaired, we offer typed tour scripts in English. Upon request, we can also provide writing pads and pencils to facilitate asking and answering questions. Sign language interpreters are welcome, as well as certified service animals and white canes for the visually impaired. For the films, hearing aid compatible devices are available upon request. 
Bathrooms and water fountains are located in Fortaleza Hall.


Only the first/main floor of Wingspread is accessible to persons with disabilities.

We will make three other stops during the day: a brief stop at Larsen's Bakery to begin our Racine adventure, lunch at Reefpoint Brew House, and our final stop at Milaeger's Garden Center.

Larsen's Bakery


Kringles are the pride of Racine and we will be visiting Larsen's Bakery, home of "Racine's Original Kringle." It will not be a tour of the bakery but rather just an opportunity to buy kringles or other baked goods.  Larsen's bakery uses century old Copenhagen recipes to make 30 varieties of Kringle. Making the pastry is a three day process. Larsen's is a family run bakery and has been for over two generations and over four decades.

Lunch at  Reefpoint Brew House

Lunch will be at Reefpoint Brew House overlooking the harbor.  Lunch is included in the registration fee and will be served buffet style. 

The Sicilian luncheon consists of a tossed salad with ranch & Italian dressings or Caesar salad, penne & meatballs, spinach fettuccini alfredo with grilled chicken, roasted peppers & roasted Italian sausage, cheese ravioli, garlic bread, & brownies for dessert.  The meal includes coffee, tea, or milk.  The tip is included.

Soft drinks or alcohol are not included but you can go to the bar and pay for it separately.

Milaeger's Garden Center


 One of the finest garden centers in Wisconsin.  We will make a 30 minute stop here.  If you are not interested in exploring the garden center, you can get refreshments and snacks at their cafe.  From a review on YELP:  "LOVE this place!! They have the best and healthiest selection of outdoor and indoor plants that I have seen. In fact, I come here from Chicago to get my plants. Huge hanging baskets, exotic plants, bonsai, planters and everything else for your complete gardening needs. AND they have a great coffee and snack bar to take a break from your plant shopping."


Bear in mind that our boarding bus route is like Madison Metro or any other municipal bus service. Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus. When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave.

– Don’t be late. We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

– Pack water bottles and snacks for sustenance on the journey.

Leave Madison

6:45 AM     Bus arrives at Oakwood for boarding

7:00 AM     Departs Oakwood

7:20 AM     Arrives Capitol Lakes for boarding

7:45 AM     Arrives East Towne Sears for boarding                                 


9:45 AM     Arrives Larsen Bakery

10:15 AM    Departs Larsen Bakery for SC Johnson campus

10:30 AM    Arrives SC Johnson campus for 1 1/2 hour tour

12:15  PM     Departs SC Johnson campus for Reefpoint Brew House

1:45   PM      Departs Brew House for Wingspread

2:00  PM      Arrives Wingspread for 1 hour tour

3:15   PM      Departs Wingspread for Milaegers Garden Center

4:00  PM      Departs Milaegers for return to Madison

Return to Madison (Estimate)

6:00 PM        Arrives at East Towne Sears

6:20 PM        Arrives at Capitol Lakes

6:45 PM        Arrives at Oakwood Village West

Accessibility Policy: On the Badger Bus, you must be able to climb steps to board and exit the bus.

Non-Member Policy: Members must register their guests. Each PLATO member is entitled to bring one non-member guest per bus trip. (Members may bring more than one guest near the registration deadline date of March 20 if seats are available. Check with trip organizer).  Non-member guests pay an additional $15.00 registration fee. PLATO Membership is $60.00/year.

For further information:  contact Frank Lloyd Wright Racine Trip Organizers: Bob Shaw at and 608-255-3486 or Irene Zimmerman at and 608-658-4685. 

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For more info about PLATO contact:

PLATO Office Operations, ATTN: Edie or Louise
c/o UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715

Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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