Saturday, June 04, 2016

Beyond FLW: Griffins, Fairies, and Decatur's Millikin Place

The name Millikin means the grandson of Maolagan ("little bald one").

The name Griffin is Welsh and the meaning of the name Griffin is "strong in faith" and "lord." Borrowed from the Welsh, Griffin is from griffinus, a Latinate form of Griffith which was used in the Middle Ages. Griffith is a Welsh name of debated origin. Some believe it to be an Anglicized form of Gruffydd, the Welsh form of the Roman Rufus (red, ruddy). Others however, think the name is derived from the Old Welsh Grippiud (prince).

The name Mahoney originally appeared in Gaelic as O Mathghamhna, which is derived from the word mathghamhan, which means "bear."

In a PBS documentary called Walter Burley Griffin: In His Own Right, my grandfather, the late Dustin Griffin, makes it clear that the famous designer and architect Frank Lloyd Wright – who worked with grandfather’s uncle, Walter Burley Griffin – gets credit where credit is not due. ~ writes Andrew W. Griffin (pictured below), on June 20, 2014. 

Peter Proudfoot, a Rome Scholar in architecture and an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of New South Wales, in his provocative 1994 book The Secret Plan of Canberra...suggests that Walter Burley Griffin’s winning Canberra design was used to implement cosmic symbolism, sacred geometry and a geomantic arrangement to integrate surrounding natural elements like the Chinese idea of feng shui.
The “ancient science of geomancy” – the idea of man in harmony with nature and “deified landforms” – was at the root of the Griffin plan, claims Proudfoot in The Secret Plan of Canberra. ~ Andrew W. Griffin

Marion Mahony Griffin was a keen horticulturist, graphic designer and painter. Her artwork includes portrait miniatures, a large mural, Fairies Feeding the Herons in a Rogers Park school (1931).

Marion Mahony, a Frank Lloyd Wright associate and the first licensed female architect in the United States, created my hometown of Decatur, Illinois' tribute to Prairie Style Homes: Millikin Place.

The Adolph Mueller House (part of Millikin Place) is different than any of Mahony's previous homes, which has led some to speculate that she was inspired by the man hired to design the landscape, Walter Griffin. After collaborating on the Millikin Place commission, the two later married and became internationally famous when they won the commission to design Canberra, the new capital of Australia. Source.


Andrew said...

Fantastic post, Loren! Walter Burley Griffin has been coming up a lot, not only in family circles but amongst friends and acquaintances. In our new home we've even set up a room dedicated to WBG's work. Thank you for this.

Unknown said...

I lived in Decatur for almost four years and spent about a year of those living right near Millikin University. There in that neighborhood there is an entire street with mutiple Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Decatur is surprisingly full of interesting history, thanks for this!