American System-Built Home, Frank Lloyd Wright, history

American System Built Homes: A Complete List of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Early Prefab Homes


Burnham Street Two Flats

When most people think of Frank Lloyd Wright they think of his impressive roster of spectacular custom designed homes. But Wright was also an early proponent of design for the masses. While his Usonian homes might be more commonly known, Wright was dabbling in prefab as early as the nineteen-teens. By 1915 Wright had partnered with Milwaukee builder Arthur Richards to create what would come to be known as American System Built Homes. The venture was interrupted by the United States’ entry to World War I (as well as infighting between Richards and Wright) but not before a number of ASB homes were built in the midwest. How many were built? We’re not sure, actually. There are a few ASB homes that have been demolished over the years and some others that are still being discovered.

Like Wright’s custom designed homes, American System Built Homes are named after their first owner. Our house is officially known as the Delbert Meier House. Delbert and his wife, Grace, had our house built in their small town in Iowa in 1917. As far as we are aware, our house is the westernmost American System Built Home. The majority of the houses that were built are located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Arthur Richard’s home base) and the Chicago area (Wright’s home).

Arthur R. Munkwitz Duplex Apartments
1102-1112 27th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53208 (*demolished 1973)

Arthur L. Richards Duplex Apartments (shown above)
2724-2726 W. Burnham St.
2732-2734 W. Burnham St.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
American System Built Home - Model B1 - in Milwaukee WI

Arthur L. Richards Small House
2714 W. Burnham St.
Milwaukee, WI 53215

Chester Bragg Residence
6644 34th St.
Berwyn, IL 60402

Richards Bungalow
1835 S. Layton Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53215

Lewis E. Burleigh Residence
330 Gregory Ave.
Wilmette, IL 60091

Ida & Grace McElwain Residence
231 Prospect Ave.
Lake Bluff, IL 60044

Stephen M.B. Hunt Residence
1165 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Unknown owner
3424 Kenilworth Ave.
Berwyn, IL 60402

Unknown owner
3519 Home Ave.
Berwyn, IL 60402

Burhans-Ellinwood & Co./Guy C. Smith Residence
10410 S. Hoyne Ave.
Chicago, IL 60643

H. Howard Hyde Residence & garage
10541 S. Hoyne Ave.
Chicago, IL 60643

Hanney & Son/Oscar A. Johnson Residence
2614 Lincolnwood Dr.
Evanston, IL 60201

Delbert Meier House, an American System Built Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Delbert W. Meier Residence
402 N. Page St.
Monona, IA 52159

Wilbur Wynant Residence
600 Fillmore St.
Gary, IN 46402

Charles Heisen Residence
346 E. Highland Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181

Thomas E. Sullivan Residence
336 Gregory Ave.
Wilmette, IL 60091

Unknown owner*
2107 West Lawn Ave.,
Madison, WI 53711

*NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: This house in Madison, Wisconsin was recently verified as an American System Built home. This gives us hope that there are more ASB homes out there just waiting to be uncovered.

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