Frank Lloyd Wright, an Architectural Chronology in Photos

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) designed over 1,000 structures of which 400 were built, making him one of the most prolific & creative architects ever. The F.L. Wright Foundation, which he founded in 1940, owns the rights to his designs & still builds in his tradition. Wright's architectural production varied inversely with the scandals in his life. A series of extramarital affairs, fires, financial problems, meant he had to rebuild his career several times. While this chronology concentrates on showing Wright's major landmark creations photographically, it also lists how his designs interacted with the other events in his life. Over 300 original images by Jim Steinhart trace Frank Lloyd Wright's artistry.

Click subject to see all photos in category. F11 to view website full screen.
  • June 8, 1867: Frank Lincoln Wright
    born in Richland Center, WI
Unity Chapel near Taliesin
  • 1887: Wright jumps to Adler & Sullivan,
    works up to Sullivan's Chief Assistant.
F.L. Wright Home & Studio, Oak Park, IL
Charnley House, Chicago
  • 1893: Wright leaves Sullivan.
    Reasons unclear, perhaps about client poaching issues.
  • 1889-1913: Wright earns living designing houses mostly in Oak Park & adjacent River Forest, IL + Buffalo, NY
  • 1901: Wright creates Prairie Style with Ward Willits House, Highland Park, IL.
Oak Park F.L. Wright house
Dana Thomas House, Springfield
Martin House, Buffalo
Unity Temple, Oak Park
Stockman House, Mason City
Park Inn Hotel, Mason City
Robie House, Chicago
  • 1909-1910: Wright & Mrs. Mamah Borthwick Cheney, wife of client, have scandalous love affair & flee to Europe.
  • 1910: Wright returns from Fiesole, Italy.
Taliesin, Spring Green
  • 1912: Wright opens an office in Chicago.
  • 1913: Midway Gardens, Chicago, IL. (Near Robie House, at edge of Univ. of Chicago, Wright's open-air beer garden is considered a landmark commission. Midway Gardens was demolished in 1929 when prohibition dried up business.)
  • 1914: A Taliesin servant murders Mamah Borthwick Cheney, her two children & four workers, by locking everyone inside & setting fire to Taliesin.
  • 1914: Wright rebuilds Taliesin (Taliesin II).
  • 1914: Miriam Noel sends condolences & within weeks of Mamah's death is living at Taliesin.
  • 1915: Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan (demolished 1968 for economic reasons)
  • 1922: Wright returns from Japan & opens office in Los Angeles.
  • 1923: Earthquake levels Tokyo; Imperial Hotel survives enhancing Wright's reputation.
Midway Gardens Plate

Tokyo Imperial Hotel Teapot

Tokyo Imperial Hotel China
American Systems Houses, Milwaukee
Hollyhock House, Los Angeles

Storer House, Los Angeles

Ennis House, Los Angeles
  • 1924: Wright meets Olga Ivanovna (Olgivanna) Milonov Hinzenberg who moves into Taliesin.
  • 1924, April: Miriam Noel Wright is forced to leave Taliesin & goes public causing more scandal.
  • 1924: Wright leaves LA for Arizona.
  • 1925: Second fire guts Taliesin & Wright rebuilds again.
  • 1925-27: Wright acrimoniously divorces Miriam Noel Wright who dies in 1928.
  • 1926: Bank forecloses on Taliesin. Wright forced by creditors to auction his Japanese print collection. Taliesin put up for auction. Darwin Martin & other patrons form a corporation that gradually pays off Wright's debts & pays him a salary.
  • 1926: Wright & Olgivanna are arrested for allegedly violating the Mann Act & Wright spends night in jail.
  • 1926: Wright starts work on his autobiography.
  • 1926-9: Wright designs Graycliff summer home over Lake Erie near Buffalo for Isabelle R. Martin (wife of patron Darwin D. Martin).
  • 1930s: Wright survives scant commissions during Depression by taking in student "fellows" at Taliesin, as per idea by Olgivanna.
Graycliff, Buffalo

Graycliff Interior
Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix
Fallingwater, PA
Johnson Wax Buildings, Racine
Monona Terrace, Madison
Hanna-Honeycomb House, Palo Alto
  • 1937: Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1940: Wright founds Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
  • Wright & fellows evolve annual migration pattern between the two Taliesins: winters in AZ & summers in WI.
Taliesin West, Scottsdale
  • 1938-54: Florida Southern College (7 buildings), Lakeland, FL
No Photos
Unitarian Meeting House, Madison
  • 1948-50: Wright designs Usonian Houses to be self built by owners under concept to extend home ownership to middle classes, such as group in Galesburg, MI
Usonian Pratt House, Galesburg

Usonian Eppstein House, Galesburg
Morris store, San Francisco
First Christian Church, Phoenix
Zimmerman House, Manchester, NH
Wright Exhibition at Haus der Kunst. Munich
David Wright House, Phoenix
Price Tower, Bartlesville
Anderton Court, Beverly Hills
Beth Sholom Synagogue, Elkins Park
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Milwaukee
Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, New York
Marin County Civic Center, Marin
  • April 9, 1959: Frank Lloyd Wright dies in Arizona
    (Buried first near Taliesin East, but moved to Taliesin West after Olgivanna dies.)
Frank Lloyd Wright grave
Grady Gammage Auditorium, Arizona State University
Music Building, Arizona State University
Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose
Community Center, Bartlesville

See Also:

All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Jim Steinhart.
All rights reserved. Permission required to use.