Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Taliesin Massacre


Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1959) is believed to be America’s most famous architect. His masterpieces include Falling Water and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.


Wright lived a legendary life with his Falling Water referred as "the United States’ Greatest Building". In 1991, the American Institute of Architects named Wright “America’s Greatest Architect”.

On the other hand, Phillip Johnson, another architect, sarcastically named Wright “America’s Greatest Architect of the 19th Century”, implying that Wright’s fame would not last into the 20th century.


The Taliesin Massacre

Wright was not only known for his architectural works. His private life was enough to make headlines on its own. In fact, the Taliesin tragedy could be made ​​into a Hollywood horror film. This tragedy involved his self-designed dream house: the Taliesin. It occurred on August 15, 1914, when Wright was on a business trip. 

Wright had abandoned his wife and six children for his client's wife, Mamah. This relationship made ​​him notorious and as a consequence, he lost many customers. Julian Carlton was a newly hired worker who had a dispute with Mamah before the incident. However, his real motive for the massacre remains unknown.

Martha "Mamah" Borthwick
Julian Carlton

During breakfast, Carlton suddenly took an axe, and chopped Mamah, followed by Mamah’s 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. After the attack, Carlton set fire to the corpses and the blaze started to spread. However, Carlton persisted and turned to attack the other employees. People attempted to escape, but all the doors and windows were locked. Out of the nine people, only two people (some believe three) were lucky enough to break windows to escape. 

After this tragedy, Wright rebuilt Taliesin. Today, Taliesen has been transformed into the Wright Memorial and is open to the public.


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