Marion Mahony Griffin

Marion Mahony Griffin (1871-1961) was cradled in her mother's arms as her family escaped the Great Chicago Fire. The family relocated to a rural area just north of the city limits where Griffin, her siblings and her older cousin Dwight Perkins enjoyed the wonders of nature. Inspired by her cousin who had become a well-respected architect, Griffin attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Successfully passing the Illinois licensure exam for architects, Griffin was the first US woman to be professionally licensed. She first worked for her cousin but then was hired by Frank Lloyd Wright as superintendent of his drafting team. Her architectural drawings and renderings have been acclaimed by architecture critics as among the best ever drawn. Although half of the renderings in Wright’s famous Wasmuth Portfolio were drawn by Griffin, Wright took credit for them. In 1911 Griffin married Walter Burley Griffin, a colleague at Wright’s studio. Together they established their own studio and together they submitted a design for the Commonwealth of Australia Federal Capital competition at Canberra. Walter Burley Griffin was named the winner of the competition. Though she repeatedly lacked professional recognition, Ms. Griffin continued her career which spanned over 60 years with work on three continents. She is buried at Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery where her gravestone is embossed with the image of one her floral drawings.

Why this stop? The Green Line Oak Park stop is just a few blocks from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio.

Learn about Marion Mahony Griffin’s role in the Canberra project in this short video.