John Lloyd Wright

Architect | 1892-1972

John Lloyd Wright was the second son (and apprentice) of Frank Lloyd and Catherine Tobin Wright, and inventor of Lincoln Logs. John Lloyd Wright, lived and practiced architecture in Del Mar, designing dozens of homes and commercial buildings in Del Mar, La Jolla, San Diego, Vista, Escondido, Valley Center and Rancho Santa Fe.

Born John Kenneth Wright, on December 12, 1892, in his father's Home and Studio in Oak Park, Illinois. After attending Oak Park Elementary (1892-1905) and his family's Hillside Home School and Hillside High School (ca. 1910), Wright attended University of Wisconsin (ca. 1911-1912) and The Art Institute of Chicago (ca. 1920).

Wright first visited San Diego at age 18 working with his older brother Lloyd - who was employed by Olmstead Brothers - the landscape architects of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in Balboa Park. Without any training John became a draftsman for the Pacific Building Company designing bungalows. At age 20, in 1912, John was employed by Harrison Albright and given two commissions - the Mrs. M.J. Wood House in Escondido, and later the Workingman's (Golden West) Hotel. The latter was a philanthropic effort to house day-laborers by local real estate baron J.B. Spreckels.

In 1913, John Lloyd Wright moved to Chicago to work (as Chief Draftsman and Super) in his father's architectural firm on Michigan Avenue and marry Jeanette Winters (whom he had met in Los Angeles). In 1917, John sailed to Japan with his father to begin work on Tokyo's Imperial Hotel. Before being fired by his father, circa 1918-1919, John was able to continue designing his line of wooden toys for Chicago's Marshall Field & Co. including the patented Lincoln Logs (working as John Lloyd Wright, Inc. circa 1920).

In 1920, John moved back to Oak Park following his divorce with Jeanette. In 1921, he married Hazel Lundin. Soon thereafter daughter Elizabeth was born and the family moved to Long Beach, Indiana where John would work as a draftsman for Schmidt, Garden & Martin (1922) and Saxe & Zimmerman (1923) before launching his own firm in 1926.

Following another divorce, John married his client for the Long Beach commission "Shangri-La", Frances Welsh in 1942. In 1946, John published a biography of his father My Father Who is on Earth.

In 1947, Frances and John began the next phase of their life together building their home and studio in Del Mar. Here John would weather legal disputes about his unlicensed practice of architecture (he was licensed in Indiana and a member of the AIA), and work on more than 60 projects. John Lloyd Wright continued to design toys, textiles, furniture and buildings from his Del Mar address until his passing in 1972 - at times employing local draftsmen like Herb Turner (for a mere .75 cents per hour. Turner subsidized his earnings by teaching private sculpture lessons from his home for $15 per hour).

Prior to the rush of post-war architects moving to the area, Ray Young and John Lloyd Wright were the only architects in the Del Mar area. By the early 1960s as many as 35 architects were living and working in Del Mar.

Read the full out-of-print monograph on John Lloyd Wright HERE.

Partial List of Projects

Bosnian, L.H. House (1960-61)
2196 Vista Grande Drive, Vista

Burnham, John Residence (1934)
Long Beach, Michigan City, Indiana

Burnett, Coy Development (1965)
Del Mar
*Not Built

Cantwell, R.E. House (1953)
Rancho Santa Fe
*This was possibly located at 5261 La Glorieta

Cantwell, Mr. Yager House (1962-63)
5263 La Glorieta, Rancho Santa Fe
*Plans state 'House for Mr. Yager Cantwell' dated November 1962 - January 1963 and 'Pool and Bridge Addition to House for Mr. L Yager Cantwell (August 1964).

Compton, Frank E. House (1948)
7840 Roseland Drive, La Jolla

Cookson House (1958)
Valley Center

Coolspring School (1938)
Laporte County, Indiana

Crans House (1953)
*Not Built

Dunes Arcade Hotel (1927)
Dunes State Park, Indiana

Golden West (Workingman's) Hotel (1912)
720 4th Street, San Diego
*Associate Architect with Harrison Albright

Gonzalez, Alphonso House (1952)
122 24th Street, Del Mar

Huber Residence (ca. 1955)
San Diego
*Julius Shulman photographed this house in 1955. No other details are known.

Jewel Studio Theater (1961)
La Jolla
*Not Built

Judkins Guest House (1946)
1700 Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla

Kelly House (1967)
Del Mar
*Not Built

Kelly's Haven AKA McPherson "Igloo" House (1947)
2017 Zapo Street, Del Mar
*Address attributed

Krutchoff, C.R. Residence (1928)
Long Beach, Indiana

Lard, S.S. (Mrs. D.M.) House (1953)
Del Mar

Lepman, Henry & Ruth House (1954)
2410 Royal Crest Drive, Escondido

Libbey Owens Ford 'Indiana Solar House' (1946)
Long Beach, Indiana

Longenecker House Addition (1971)
La Jolla
*Not Built

Loudenslager Residence (1948-50)
490 Ocean View Avenue, Del Mar

MacPherson Studio House (1947)
101 Nob Avenue, Del Mar

Marcotte Store (1949)

Marincovich Residence (1964)
936 Vista Avenue, Escondido
*Also possibly attributed to 2635 Royal Crest Drive

McKinley House (1948-51)
1839 Zapo Street, Del Mar

McLeod, E. Residence (1958)
1330 W. 11th Avenue, Escondido
*Attribution by real estate listing in 2000

Merrill Residence (Wonder-Y Ranch) (1959-60)
26448 North Lake Wohlford Road, Valley Center

Miller, B.A. Residence (1929)
719 Washington Street, Winona, Minnesota

Miller, D. Residence (1929)
Long Beach, Indiana

Mooney House (1949)
1820 Neale Street, Mission Hills

Mooney Office (1953)
San Diego
*Not Built

Ney House (1958)
1641 Crespo, La Jolla

Osborn House (1948)
Del Mar
*Not Built

Pacific Building Company Spec House (1911)
2906 Beech Street, South Park
*Attribution by Susan H. Bugbee's 2010 book South Park San Diego

Private Residence
Hickory Street, Escondido

Salomen Office (1949)

Smith Store (1952)
*Not Built

Smith Residence (1952)
1859 Zapo Street, Del Mar

Smith Duplex (1958)
Del Mar

Speers House (1960)
118 Caroline Way, Escondido

Thompson, A House for Mr. & Mrs. Renwick Jr. (1964-68)
15611 La Madreselva, Rancho Santa Fe
*Also known as Brickwood; confirmed by original blueprints

Turman, B. Residence (1957)
Fort Worth, Texas

University City Tract Houses (1962)
Clairemont Mesa
*Not Built

Villaseneour Store (1954)

Welsh, Louis and Pat Residence (1956)
1825 Zapo Street, Del Mar

Wood House (1912)
455 East 5th Avenue, Escondido

Wood House Addition (1960)
Del Mar

Wright, Dr. B.W. House (1941)
7821 Hillside Drive, La Jolla

Wright, Joe House (1947)
Del Mar
*Not Built

Wright, John Lloyd House and Studio (1947)
420 Serpentine, Del Mar

ZLAC Rowing Club (1929)
1111 Pacific Beach Drive, Pacific Beach