A Brief History
On August 15, 1914, a disgruntled 31 year old chef and servant at a Frank Lloyd Wright property known as Taliesin, in Wisconsin, went on a murderous rampage, killing 7 people and burning a prestigious mansion, all without the use of a firearm…
Wright, the great American architect, hired Julian Carlton, a West Indian of African descent to work at the 600 acre estate. Carlton grew increasingly paranoid over time and had run ins with other workers and contractors. Carlton began staying up late armed with a butcher knife while staring out a window, causing Wright to give him notice that his employment would end as of August 15, 1914.
Carlton’s paranoia was now triggered by rage, and he took his revenge by using a hatchet to hack 7 people to death, including Wright’s mistress and her children while severely injuring 2 others. Carlton then poured gasoline in the house and set the place afire.
Carlton was found hiding in a furnace room, having ingested a quantity of hydrochloric acid in a suicide attempt. The acid failed to kill Carlton immediately, so he was taken to jail where he ended up starving because of the damage the acid did to his digestive system.
The ruined mansion was soon rebuilt and given the name Taliesin II; Taliesin has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2019.
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For more information, please see…
Cook-Wilson, Ethel. Julian Carleton–I am not just another George!: Taliesin Murders. Kindle, 2014.
Drennan, William. Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders. University of Wisconsin Press, 2008.
The featured image in this article, a photograph of Frank Lloyd Wright (left) surveying damage after the Taliesin I attack in 1914, is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1927, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.
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