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The Spiral Staircase

Esherick's house looks deceptively small when approached from its mountaintop entrance side because much of the multi-level building is hidden from view on the slope below. In 1930 he connected three of the four levels of the evolving structure with a spiral staircase fashioned from massive pieces of hand-hewn red oak.

A functional item of architecture as well as an elegant piece of sculpture in its own right, the staircase is the central feature of the house and Esherick's single most famous work. It was removed in 1939 and exhibited as a premiere example of American craftsmanship at the New York World's Fair -- an event that brought Esherick to national attention in design circles and established the staircase as an icon of his work.

In 1958 the staircase was again removed from the house and trucked to New York for display as one of 90 pieces exhibited in Esherick's one-man retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts.

The first level in the photo above is the main studio floor. The second level of the staircase lets off at the kitchen. The very top climbs to a large trap door that opens into the crowning room of the structure, Esherick's bedroom.

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