For three years Annette Noel has been a volunteer gardener at the Allen-Lambe House, but she hadn't been inside until Saturday.
"When I'm covered in dirt, I'm not going inside," she said.
Noel and two fellow volunteer gardeners have been preparing the past few weeks for the visit by the grandson of the house's architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
About 150 people visited a rare opening of the house at Second and Roosevelt in the College Hill neighborhood on Saturday. The two-story, 5,000-square-foot home is only open by appointment.
The tour was part of an Ulrich Museum of Art event that included a lecture at Wichita State University by Eric Lloyd Wright, an architect like his grandfather and father.
Wichita State owns much of the furniture from the Allen-Lambe House, which was completed in 1918. Some pieces of furniture are on display at the "Art of Our Time" exhibition at the Ulrich Museum.
Eric Lloyd Wright hadn't been in the house for nearly 60 years, when he was an apprentice to his grandfather. He said seeing it on Saturday was even more thrilling than then because of the knowledge he has gained.
"I do remember the garden," he said. "I was impressed with the garden."
Although the house is a prime example of Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style of flat-roofed structures that blend into the Plains, the garden with its Japanese influence is unique to Allen-Lambe, Eric Lloyd Wright said.
The nonprofit Allen-Lambe House Foundation is restoring the garden to its original state, with the help of volunteer gardeners.
"People don't think about the maintenance to the structure," said Noel, who has named the fish in the garden's pond Pinto and Bean.
She said limited funds dictate how closely the garden can be restored to when it was the home of Henry Allen, publisher of the Wichita Beacon who went on to become governor.
"I volunteer to be part of it," said Noel, an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright's work.
"If we didn't do the gardening, they can't to afford to pay anyone."
Eric Lloyd Wright said he was also glad to visit Wichita because he had never seen Wichita State's Corbin Education Center, which his grandfather designed shortly after Eric Lloyd Wright left his apprenticeship.
"I'm really impressed with Wichita — the art improvement and reconstruction of downtown," he said. "Wichita is going in a good direction."
Eric Lloyd Wright said he has visited about 70 of the roughly 300 existing structures designed by his grandfather.
He said that although Frank Lloyd Wright was famous for his prairie-style houses, his grandfather didn't like the way people referred to the designs.
"He didn't like the word 'style,' " Eric Lloyd Wright said. "He said, 'I'm not stylish. It doesn't last. The architecture I do lasts.' "