A retired American teacher found out that her house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Proud homeowner.
Proud homeowner.
Image: AP/Carrie Antlfinger
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

In 1989, Linda McQuillen won big in the housing lottery—but not in New York City or San Francisco. The run-down house she bought for $100,000 in Madison, Wisconsin turns out to have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The retired teacher had heard that her house looked like a Wright, but it wasn’t until recently that her suspicions were confirmed. Wright scholar Mary Jane Hamilton announced the authenticity of the house on Oct. 6.

Hamilton began studying the house closely in 2009, reports the Associated Press. She soon tied it to a 1917 ad in the Wisconsin State Journal for homes designed by the legendary American architect. One of the tell-tale signs for Hamilton were framing studs in the walls placed 24 inches apart, instead of the standard 16, a deviation Wright was known to make.

The house was part of Wright’s American System-Built Homes project, aimed at making beautifully-designed houses affordable. In the late 1910s, small System-Built houses were priced between $2,750 (about $51,200 today) and $3,500, and large houses started at $5,000. At least 16 were built, and 14 are still standing. Today, McQuillen’s home has an estimated value of $480,000, according to AP.

In June, another house in Sherwood, Wisconsin was confirmed to be an American System-Built Home, dating back to 1917.