frank.jpg Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867 in southwestern Wisconsin. Frank' s family never had a lot of money as he was growing up. His father was a preacher and musician who never seemed to find his fortune in life. His mother was a teacher, and saw value in a set of Froebal blocks she found at a fair. Froebal blocks were building blocks of various shapes, sizes, and colors that taught children how to combine various small geometric shapes to make a larger structure. Mrs. Wright always wanted Frank to become an architect, and was said to have placed pictures of great buildings in his nursery to inspire him at an early age. Frank said later how these blocks were "...still in my hands today." He delighted in endless hours of building and re-building structures with one of the few toys in his possession.

When Frank was ten years old, his father decided to give up preaching in order to open a school of music in Madison, Wisconsin. Frank's entire family loved music, and often sang and played together in the evenings. Shortly thereafter, Frank began working on his uncle's farm in the summer. This was very hard work, and twice Frank tried to run away. He learned many life lessons from his work on the farm, however, that would benefit him later in life. Many of the colors and shapes reflected in his architectural designs were inspired by the changing seasons on the farm. He saw the geometric shapes from his beloved Froebal blocks reflected in nature, such as the spherical shapes of the peas in a pea pod. He noticed patterns form the freshly-tilled soil and a spider's web that would influence future structures. Most importantly, he learned how to work hard and follow through, a lesson not modeled by his father. American architecture would never be the same.

By the time Frank was sixteen, the difficult farm work had strengthened him to take on more adult-like responsibilities. This was needed now more than ever, because his father had left the family. After his music school failed, Mr. Wright felt like a failure. Frank never forgave his father for this betrayal, but was grateful to him for instilling a love of music. His mother continued to want a career of architecture for Frank, so she saved enough money to send him to college. He had to study civil engineering because architecture was not offered at local colleges. He found these classes to be boring, and left after less than a year's credit. He decided to seek his fortune in Chicago with just $7 to his name. Frank considered Chicago to be the epicenter for modern-day architecture, and wanted to learn real-world applications from the masters.

Citations

"Frank Lloyd Wright as a Young Child." Online image ID WHi-31680. Wisconsinhistory.org. 9 January 2007.
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullimage.asp?id=31680
Thorne-Thomsen, Kathleen. Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids. 1st Edition. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1994.