Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s uncle was a Chicago minister with thick white hair and a long white beard reminiscent of a Biblical figure. The Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones’ devotion to President Lincoln may have led to Wright’s first architectural commission.
Jones, a Civil War veteran and a Unitarian-turned-nondenominational minister, decided to build an Abraham Lincoln Center just down East Oakwood Boulevard from his All Souls Church.
His nephew, still in his 30s, was the original architect for the $200,000, seven-story building. After he and his uncle quarreled over the design. Wright eventually resigned. He wrote on the blueprints: “Building completed over protest of the architect.” The building opened in 1905.
Some think the plain brick building, which now houses Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for City Studies, shows Wright’s design imprint.
Wright’s son said the center should be included in lists of his father’s works, and said the design should be dated 1888, making it his father’s first architectural work.
Source: True Lincoln by Geoffrey Johnson, Chicago Magazine, December 2004 and Citywide Services Chicago Real Estate Appraisers