Lucille, Isadore and Checkers Zimmerman

Lucille and Isadore Zimmerman lived together with their dog, a     dalmatian named Checkers, in their Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. The Zimmermans had several formal portraits done of Checkers. Checkers became the focus of a celebration at the Zimmerman House in 1994. Dalmatian Day: Checkers’ Birthday Celebration held at the house included a checkers tournament, a human checkers game and a dalmatian dog show.

Lucille with Checkers as a puppy.

Lucille with Checkers as a puppy.

Checkers became the center of a great debate regarding the floor at the Zimmerman House. According to correspondence between Lucille and Frank Lloyd Wright’s offices at Taliesin, the red colorant used on the concrete was dusting off everywhere. We learn from a letter dated October 1, 1952:

“The condition of the floors is intolerable. Our beautiful home where happiness could be can be ruined because our living room has to be centered around escape from the red loose pigment…..Any article that drops on the floor is red. Red lint and dust collects on the furniture and upholstery. My Dalmatian dog lays on the floor and he is no longer white.”

Checkers and family in Zimmerman House

Lucille goes on to mention that the prized polar bear skin rug she had acquired for the home under FLW’s direction “is red.”

Wright took quick action to remedy the situation and before long Lucille noted that “my dog is white again.”

We don’t have an image of Checkers in red, black and white, but here is a gallery of some photographs of the beloved dog and the Birthday Bash held in 1994 at the Zimmerman House (all images courtesy Currier Museum of Art Reference Library and Archives, Zimmerman Family Papers and Zimmerman House Collection).

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