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Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Warren McArthur House; 1892


During the early 1890s, Frank Lloyd Wright was under the employment of Louis Sullivan of the Sullivan and Adler architectural firm in Chicago, Illinois. While he was employed at this firm, Wright would design homes for several local individuals, including George Blossom and Warren McArthur.


Warren McArthur would later work together with Frank Lloyd Wright from 1907 to 1909 and afterwards would go on to design several buildings of his own. Unfortunately, the creation of these homes, known as Wright’s “bootleg” designs, would anger his employer, Louis Sullivan. Sullivan would then dismiss Wright for violating his employment contract with the architectural firm by designing these houses.

Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in Chicago: The Warren McArthur House

Upon first sight, the vast majority of people would never know that this historic home was actually a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. Furthermore, the Warren McArthur home is vastly different from the other bootleg homes that were designed that very same year. While the Thomas H. Gale House, the Robert P. Parker House and the Robert G. Emmond house are all of the same Queen Anne (or Victorian) design and style; the McArthur home is actually done in a Dutch Colonial style.

The two story McArthur home features many of the standard architectural features associated with the Dutch Colonial style, including the gamble roof. However, Frank Lloyd Wright made sure to add his own unique and varied touches to the design. This includes the unusual, though surprisingly fitting, bays that are located at each corner of the home; which aid in removing it from the traditional rectangular shape of the Dutch Colonial.

The facade of the home also features dormers along with what is commonly referred to as a “Sullivan-Style” arched main entrance. The home also features casement windows and it was Wright’s first known use of leaded glass windows. The first floor of the home’s facade is comprised of Roman brick.

Bootleg Houses: The Warren McArthur House Today

Today, the Warren McArthur home still stands next to it’s neighbor, the George Blossom house, which is also a bootleg home designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1892. As of August 2010, the McArthur house is still used as a private residence. Visitors who wish to view the homes should remember to respect the privacy of the current owners and avoid entering the property or peeking in through windows.