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wright at the time

wright at the time

The Weekly Home News, August 20, 1914
“Murderer of Seven: Sets Fire to Country Home of Frank Lloyd Wright Near Spring Green”

hile the members of the household were at dinner, last Saturday, Julian Carlton, a negro servant, fired Frank Lloyd Wright’s bungalow, murdered seven and seriously wounded one with a hatchet and another received injuries in jumping from a window. The dead are:

Mrs. Mamah Borthwick, their son and daughter, John and Martha Cheney, aged 11 and 9 respectively; Emil Brodelle, aged 30, an architectural draftsman; Thomas Brunker, of Ridgeway, hostler; Ernest Weston, 13-year-old son of Mr. And Mrs. Wm. Weston of Spring Green; and David Lindblom, gardener.

The wounded are: William H. Weston of Spring Green, foreman of the bungalow activities, and Herbert Fritz of Chicago. The latter escaped the negro’s wrath but received a broken arm and glass cuts in making his escape through a window. He was also slightly burned.

Mr. Wright was in Chicago, where business had called him several days before and he escaped the murders hatchet.

The negro waiter had served dinner to the men in the small room temporarily used for that purpose and to Mrs. Borthwick and her children on the dining porch, which was located just off the guest room where the child’s room had been. While they were eating he came to the door and asked Mr. Weston for gasoline, with which to clean a rug, and was given permission to get some. Soon after, those in the dining room heard a splash against the door and in an instant the room was full of flaming gasoline, which the fiend had poured against and under the door. As they attempted to escape, some through the door and some through a window, the negro struck them down with a hatchet.

Mr. Fritz was the first out. He says that he and Mr. Brodelle were eating at a separate table, and as the room burst into flames he sprang for the window and made his escape, getting out before the murderer was prepared.

Mr. Fritz was followed through the window which was about five feet from the ground, by Mr. Brodelle and Wm. Weston in the order named. As the two latter came through they were hatchted. Fritz says he saw Brodelle staggering about and saw the negro strike Weston. The other occupants of the dining room, he says, got out through the door, which was just beside the window.

Mr. Weston said that as he came through the window Carlton struck him with the hatchet and he fell. He got up and ran across the court to the studio. Carlton followed him and struck him a second time, knocking him down. Probably thinking him dead the negro went back to the slaughter. Mr. Weston then ran out another way and found David Lindblom wounded and burning. He helped him extinguish his burning clothing and together they ran to the Rieder home half a mile away and telephoned for help.

Above are the stories of the only survivors of the tragedy...

The Famous Bungalow The country home, the scene of the terrible tragedy, was a typical Wright creation built some three years ago as a retreat for a man and woman of unconventional ideas and is located on a hill just across the river directly south of Spring Green.

It is a long, low structure, carved into the brow of the hill. On three sides the building bounds an oblong court. The fourth side is a terrace joining the bungalow tot he hill upon the side of which it slings. At one end of another adjoining court are the granary, stables and men’s sleeping rooms; then, at right angles and connecting the two ends, is that part which contained offices, studio and an open loggia. Then comes the portion, near the entrance to the court, built for Mr. Wright’s mother, which was being temporarily used as a dining room by the workmen and draftsmen. Adjoining this dwelling, Mr. Wright himself lived. All this portion is completely burned. Mr. Wright will start at once to rebuild.

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