Structures of the Architectural Style Prarie

B. E. Boynton House, Rochester New York
Date added:April 21, 2010


This well-preserved typical example of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous prairie house is unique in its completeness of an interior room. The dining room perhaps summarizes the architect's rather radical concept of interior space in 1908.

Edward Boynton was a very successful salesman and later partner in the Ham Lantern Company of Rochester. He first heard of Wright through Warren MacArthur, a business partner in the lantern company. Wright had built one of his earliest houses for MacArthur in the Kenwood district of Chicago in 1892. The Boyntons, Edward and his daughter, Beulah, selected Wright as the architect of their home after giving brief consideration to the work of Claude Bragdon, Rochester's leading modern architect. Wright participated in the choice of the site and insisted on the expensive addition of twenty-eight elm trees. Actually, Wright closely supervised the construction of the Boynton House. During the year in which it was built, Wright frequently and unexpectedly arrived at the site. Once there, he would never leave the house during his stay which often lasted two or three days. Generally speaking, the Boyntons were some of Wright's more affluent clients. The total cost of the house including the lot was $55,000 in 1908. But perhaps the most significant aspect of the architect-client relationship was the layman expertise and interest exhibited by Beulah Boynton, for whom her father built the house. Some of her design suggestions were incorporated into the structure and furniture by Wright, including the adjustable backs of the Wright-designed dining and lounge chairs. Like his other client of the same year, Mrs. Avery Coonley of Riverside, Illinois, Beulah Boynton seems to have established a certain rapport with Wright which is reflected in the direct supervision which the structure received. Beulah Boynton and her husband of 1908 lived in the house until 1918 when they moved to New York. When Wright visited the house in c. 1930, he seemed upset to discover that the house he had designed for a spacious rural setting had been encroached upon by nearly adjacent dwellings.


Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo New York
Date added:March 15, 2010


This Prairie house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904, is important in the development of a large private residence which contains open and versatile interior spaces. This concept of a single-family dwelling was not prevalent in American domestic architecture until thirty years later. The house was designated a Buffalo and Erie County Historical Site, November 16, 1971.

Darwin Martin appears to have met Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1903. Martin and his brother, W. E. Martin, were out driving and passed Wright's studio. They were intrigued by its appearance and stopped to call on the owner. That same afternoon Wright received a commission for a house from W. E. Martin, 636 North East Avenue, Oak Park. In the following year, Wright received the commission for the Darwin D. Martin house and for the Larkin Building (demolished in 1950), The Larkin Company was a mail-order business which employed Martin. Other associates in the company also had Wright houses constructed in Buffalo, namely, W. R. Heath, 1905, and Walter V. Davidson, 1908. Mrs. W. R. Heath was the sister of Elbert Hubbard, who at one time was also associated with the Larkin Company. Hubbard is better known for his craft workshop, the Roycroft, which he established in East Aurora, New York--a small community approximately twenty miles east of Buffalo. Wright also designed Martin's summer house, "Graycliff," in the mid 1920s. The ink drawings on sized linen are dated in pencil, August 19, 1929. However, Hitchcock, in In the Nature of Materials, states that the house in Derby, located on the shore of Lake Erie, was begun in 1927, but designed a year or two earlier, and that the garage was begun in 1926. In addition to the above set of plans, the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection of the University Archives also contains a blueprint of the garage beams and columns by Jones Iron Works dated April 8, 1929. According to Hitchcock, neither construction was supervised by Wright.


F.C. Bogk House, Milwaukee Wisconsin
Date added:October 28, 2009

F.C. Bogk House front

Frederick C. Bogk was well known in Milwaukee business and political circles during the early decades of the 1900's. Born in Sheboygan Falls, he came to Milwaukee as a child and after completing his education, worked for the Wisconsin Central Railroad, rising to the position of land commissioner. In 1908 he joined the Ricketson Mineral Paint Works and later became president of the company. For a time he also had an interest in Bogk and Pfleger, an insurance and real estate firm. He was elected alderiaan from the fifteenth ward in 1904 and after serving two terms, was elected alderman-at-large, a position he held from 1908 to 1920.

This house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and executed under his supervision. It was built in 1916-1917, in the so-called Japanese years of Wright's career. The building has been designated a Milwaukee landmark.