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The Villages

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1970–1974, Bruce Goff. Big Eddy Rd., approximately 14 miles southwest of Tyler

The Villages is a six-hundred-acre residential development located on the east shore of Lake Palestine. Lake Village, as the project was originally known, was developed by Tyler contractor Bruce Plunkett, a former student and a friend of organic-expressionist architect Bruce Goff. In 1970, Plunkett persuaded Goff to move his practice from Kansas City to Tyler to work on commissions primarily at the Lake Village development. Eleven of Goff’s twenty-one built projects in Texas, including eight of his eleven houses, are located in The Villages, with three projects located in Tyler.

By 1970, Goff’s first three projects were completed, including the first residence for Plunkett at 17148 Fountain Circle, just beyond The Villages’ north entrance signboards (also designed by Goff). The L-shaped house has a spiral staircase and quarter-circle living area facing the lake that link the two wings. Goff maintained the circular theme in the front, with inverted semicircular windows on the ground floor balanced against large semicircular shingled panels that enclose the cantilevered second floor. Dramatically flared roof corners complete this extraordinary organic composition.

In 1974, Plunkett commissioned Goff for a second house closer to the lake at 18720 Lakeview Lane, and the first residence was converted to business use. Plunkett II House, Goff’s last built project at Lake Village, is one room wide, with a long, rectangular plan. Battered brick walls and hipped roofs step up symmetrically to a three-story central hall and a lake overlook in a manner evocative of Goff’s early Prairie Style-inspired work.

Additional Goff-designed projects at Lake Village, all completed in 1971, include three small speculative houses on Indian Summer Lane, a two-story residence on the north side of the Big Eddy Road and Serenity Way intersection, a two-story duplex on Meandering Way, and a pool bath house constructed of masonry block and utility poles in the Lake Village Community Center on Spring Creek Road. With the exception of the two residences designed for Bruce Plunkett, Goff’s completed work at The Villages offers little insight into one of the nation’s most original twentieth-century architects. The subdued nature of his work here owes more to conservative moneylenders and a speculative market than to decreased intellectual energy on the part of Goff.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.



Gerald Moorhead et al., "The Villages", [Noonday, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 66-67.

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