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November 3. 2023


Last week, while walking the grounds of Crystal Bridges at dusk, I came upon the Bachman- Wilson house. As I contemplated its history and beauty, it reminded me of our journey as a school community.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1956, the house stood comfortably on the banks of the Millstone River in New Jersey for decades until flood waters threatened to destroy it. The owners sold the house to Crystal Bridges knowing that Wright’s gem would be meticulously restored and replanted on high ground. The house arrived from New Jersey in 2015, just as the idea of Thaden was germinating, and now looks quite at home in a setting that celebrates the kinship between architecture and nature.

One of the most striking features of the Bachman-Wilson House are the clerestory windows that crown the main living room. As the sun moves across the sky, the windows fill the interior with intricate and shifting patterns of light and shadow by virtue of the “samara” motif that takes its form from the winged seed pods of maple trees, commonly known as whirlybirds. Indeed, the Bachman-Wilson house is itself a samara from New Jersey that has now taken root in Northwest Arkansas.

Thaden School is likewise made of samaras from countless sources of inspiration, far and near. And, most importantly, our school is producing the next generation of samaras as our students fly into the world and put their seeds of learning into broader circulation for the benefit of their home region and our nation.

Together, we are building a school with roots and wings!

Clayton K. Marsh
Founding Head of School