Frank Lloyd Wright Sketches

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In 1887, Wright arrived in Chicago in search of employment. As a result of the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and a population boom, new development was plentiful in the city. Wright later recalled that while his first impressions of Chicago were that of grimy neighborhoods, crowded streets, and disappointing architecture, he was determined to find work. Within days, and after interviews with several prominent firms, he was hired as a draftsman with the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee. Wright previously collaborated with Silsbee—accredited as the draftsman and the construction supervisor—on the 1886 Unity Chapel for Wright's family in Spring Green, Wisconsin. While with the firm, he also worked on two other family projects: All Souls Church in Chicago for his uncle, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, and the Hillside Home School I in Spring Green for two of his aunts. Other draftsmen who worked for Silsbee in 1887 included future architects Cecil Corwin, George W. Maher, and George G. Elmslie. Wright soon befriended Corwin, with whom he lived until he found a permanent home.