Years in the Making
The story of Samara is one of a young couple aspiring to a dream home designed by one of America’s most famous architects. Today, tucked into a quiet neighborhood in West Lafayette, that home is an exceptional example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses, which the architect defined as a sensible, modest, uniquely American dwellings.
In 1950, Dr. John and Catherine Christian reached out to Frank Lloyd Wright, who took their commission on the condition that the couple would fully implement his design, inside and out, even if it took years. During a visit to Taliesin, Catherine gave the famous architect a 28-page booklet, “What We Need for How We Live,” detailing the couple’s space needs and how they would use each room—from family gatherings to hosting faculty and students from nearby Purdue University, where Dr. Christian was a Bionucleonics professor.
The Christians worked with Wright over a period of five years (1951-1956) to develop detailed design and construction plans—from landscape and exterior details to specific interior furnishings including china, bed linens, and even the toilet paper holder.
Named for the winged seeds produced by the site’s evergreens, Samara features an abstract version of the winged seed design motif throughout the interior and exterior of the house. Today, Samara is notable as one of the most complete, fully implemented Wright-designed projects.
Indiana Landmarks led a years-long effort to get Samara designated a National Historic Landmark, a distinction it finally earned in 2015.
Today, Indiana Landmarks co-stewards Samara with the John E. Christian Family Memorial Trust. In 2022, Indiana Landmarks launched a comprehensive restoration project to address structural issues and update aging environmental systems to protect the home’s extensive collection of Wright-designed furnishings. The $1.6 million project is funded by a $500,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service, the John E. Christian Family Memorial Trust, Inc., and private donations.
Tours of Samara are offered on a regular basis, Wednesdays through Sundays. Make your reservation below. For additional details, visit samara-house.org.
Samara Tours 2023
Click on available dates (shaded on the calendar) to see tour times.
Frequently asked questions
What time zone is Samara located within?
Eastern Time Zone
Does Samara have a visitors’ center?
No. We will meet outside the house. Feel free to enjoy the gardens before the tour.
Do I need to buy tickets in advance?
Yes. We do not have the ability to welcome walk-in guests. You can make your reservations at samara-house.org/events. Private groups may call 765-409-5522.
How many people can be on a tour?
Our maximum number of guests may not exceed 15 people.
When and where do I check-in?
Check-in starts 20 minutes before your scheduled time. At the top of the brick driveway, look for a “Welcome” sign under the carport area. We will take your name through an open window.
What should I do if I’m late?
Please call our office at 765-409-5522 before your scheduled tour time. Tours will start promptly at the time indicated (Eastern Standard Time) on your ticket. Do not attempt to open any of our historic doors or windows!
What if it is raining?
We adapt tours to indoor areas only when raining. If you would like to tour the grounds on your own, please bring an umbrella.
Does Samara have a gift shop?
No. If you would like to further support Samara, we would appreciate donations to enhance our education and preservation programs.
Does Samara have on-site parking?
No. However, public parking is available nearby along both sides of Woodland Avenue.
Can I drive on the driveway?
No. All vehicles are restricted. Please walk up the brick driveway to access the house. If you have mobility issues, please call our office to arrange driveway access.
Where is Samara?
Look for a brick driveway at the dead-end of Woodland Avenue in West Lafayette, Indiana. Our indigo-colored mailbox and gate are labeled 1301.
Can I see Samara from the road?
No. The house is hidden from street-view by lush greenery. (Our neighbor’s house is completely visible to the road and has architectural elements reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, but it is not Samara)
Are restrooms available in Samara?
No. We ask that you use a restroom before your visit to the property.
Is photography allowed?
Yes. Photography outside and inside the house is encouraged for personal, non-commercial use only. Tripods and drones are prohibited. Photographers may schedule an appointment.
Are food and drinks allowed inside the house?
No. Please leave food and drinks outside or in your vehicle. Only water bottles may be permitted inside.
Are backpacks, purses, or bags allowed inside the house?
No. Please leave your personal belongings in your vehicle. The house has narrow hallways and small rooms that may be easily scratched by bags.
Is smoking or vaping allowed?
No. Smoking or vaping on the property is strictly prohibited.
Are pets allowed on the tour?
Certified service pets are always welcome. Please notify us ahead of your visit by calling 765-409-5522. Other pets are not permitted on tours. Also, please note that there is limited shade on our property, and pets should not be left in vehicles while guests are attending tours.
Is Samara wheelchair accessible?
No. We are working to make the house accessible, but currently, there are 3 steps required to enter the house. If you have questions about accommodation and access, contact us at email@example.com or 765-409-5522.
Are there many stairs during the tour?
No. The tour may include 3 shallow steps in 3 areas of the house. If you need accommodation for a more accessible route, please alert your guide prior to the tour.
Are tickets refundable?
Yes. Refund requests must be received at least 7 days in advance of the tour date. If tickets are purchased through Eventbrite, you will receive a partial refund as Eventbrite no longer refunds their fees.
Are tickets transferable?
Yes. Transfer requests must be received at least 3 days before the scheduled tour. Tickets may be transferred to a new date and time, depending on availability. There is no fee for ticket transfers.