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Axe Massacre at Taliesin

October 13, 2017


In 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress Mamah Borthwick left their spouses to live together. Wright left his large growing family and Borthwick left her husband but took custody her two young children. In 1911 they moved into their new home - Taliesen in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It was dubbed "The Love Bungalow" by the national press. Wright was condemned by puritanical elements across America. In August, 1914 Wright was in Chicago on business when Julian Carlton, a recently hired servant with serious anger management and mental issues, set fire to a wing at Taliesin and began attacking it's residents. Through fire and brutal axe blows, he murdered seven people. Wright's mistress Mamah Borthwick and her two young children were among the dead. Newspapers of the era delighted in adding a harsh moral slant ("the justice of heaven") to their coverage of the tragedy. Readers of the era ate it up. Tne writer below, covering the pathos of Borthwick's lonely burial at the Wright family plot, was one of the few who got it right .