Retired Teacher Discovers Her Home Was Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
In 1989, Linda McQuillen bought her home in Madison, Wisc. for $100,000 with no inclination that it might be a building of note.
"Over time we have completely redone the house without any indication it was a significant house," McQuillen told the Associated Press. "I didn't know it was a Frank Lloyd Wright home and had no imagination it would be."
The retired teacher only really started to imagine the extraordinary origins of the house in 2009 when Mary Jane Hamilton, an architectural historian, reached out. Hamilton had her suspicions about the place, but couldn’t yet prove that it was one of Wright’s designs. It wasn’t until she found an advertisement for a Madison building company in a 1917 Wisconsin State Journal newspaper that things started to click. The company was listed in the 1917 building permit for the house, a permit that also showed McQuillen’s home was a building spec house.
Turns out, the property is one of 16 Wright-designed “American System-Built Homes” that were erected in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The experiment was focused on bringing the well-known style of Wright to people who might not normally be able to afford the famous architect. Fourteen of the homes are still around today.