County of Marin - News Releases - Frank Lloyd Wright Doghouse

For Immediate Release
May 06, 2016

A Frank Lloyd Wright Doghouse? It’s Here

Marin County accepts donated replica made from original 1950s plans

San Rafael, CA – The most famous doghouse in the world? Probably Snoopy’s. But now, through a generous donation, the County of Marin has acquired a real doghouse designed by one of the best-known architects in American history, Frank Lloyd Wright. It will be displayed May 10 during the Marin County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Jim Berger poses next to the doghouse he donated to the County of Marin.Jim Berger with the doghouse he donated to the County of Marin.
Jim Berger donated his Wright-designed doghouse to the County through the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Conservancy Commission, whose mission is to preserve and protect the Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center complex including landscaped grounds. The doghouse is known as Eddie’s House, named after the Berger family’s labrador retriever. Eddie died before the original doghouse was built, but another family dog lived in it. The donated doghouse is the second one built according to the original Wright plans.

Berger grew up in San Anselmo in a Wright-designed home that today is widely known as the Berger House. His parents, Robert (Bob) and Gloria Berger, commissioned Wright to design the house in 1950-51, and it was built to specifications by Bob Berger over the course of 20 years. Wright also designed a triangular doghouse on the back of an envelope – at no charge – when Jim Berger, then 12 years old, wrote to Wright and requested plans. Wright’s staff completed formal plans for the doghouse and sent them to the Bergers.

Bob Berger built the first doghouse in the late 1950s, but it was disposed of in 1968. Bob Berger died in 1973 and Gloria showed off the San Anselmo home proudly until her death in 2011. Jim Berger, by then a retired cabinet maker living outside of Sacramento, received permission that year to build a new doghouse with the original plans to be shown in a documentary film about Wright.

“As a lifelong Marinite, I had heard tales of the doghouse designed by Mr. Wright but never was able to see the original construction,” said Sandra Fawn, Vice-Chair of the Civic Center Conservancy. “I am thrilled that Jim Berger rebuilt Eddie's House and is graciously donating it to Marin County. Perhaps this one-of-a-kind design by Mr. Wright will be an inspiration to young future architects.”

The vast blue-roofed headquarters of the County of Marin government was designed in the late 1950s by Wright and built in the early 1960s; Wright died in 1959. The Civic Center is a National Historic Landmark and is one of a collection of 10 of Wright buildings across the country that has been nominated by the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

Tentative plans are in the works to have the doghouse be shown at a future Marin County Fair and other special exhibitions, such as the Civic Center Library. Staff will work with the Conservancy to protect and preserve the doghouse in order for it to be shown publically at the Civic Center, similar to the Civic Center Campus model in the first floor mall of the Civic Center.

Jim Berger plans to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting starting at 9 a.m. May 10 in the Civic Center Board chamber, Suite 330, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. He will be available for media interviews for a short time after the Board presentation. Media members interested in interviewing Berger should email County Public Information Officer Brent Ainsworth at or call 415-473-3084.


David Speer
Facilities Planning & Development Manager
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6016
Email: David Speer
County Administrator website