Searching for Silsbee

Before Wright worked for Louis Sullivan, he worked for Joseph Lyman Silsbee. Though Silsbee’s style did not influence Wright as Sullivan did, he was a significant 19th Century architect, and deserves to be remembered for more than a inspired hiring choice.

The blog Searching for Silsbee, by Oak Park resident and architect Chris Payne (also responsible for Our tiny Oak Park Bungalow), is an attempt to bring more attention to Silsbee’s work.

One work of Silsbee’s that most right fans are familiar with is Unity Chapel, on the grounds of Taliesin. Silsbee was a friend of Wright’s uncle, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, who chose the famous architect over his unproven nephew. Wright worked with Silsbee on the building, though his role is unknown. Many members of the Lloyd Jones family are buried near the chapel. Mamah Cheney was buried there as well. Frank Lloyd Wright was buried there, next to Mamah until his remains were moved Taliesin West after the death of Olgivanna.