While Wright may be better known for designing the flat-roofed, ranch-style abodes known as Usonian Homes for middle-income families in the late 1930s , a few years prior he also dabbled in housing for low-income families. Called American System-Built Homes and built in collaboration with developer Arthur L. Richards, Wright’s vision for affordable yet stylish housing came to fruition in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa during the mid-1900s (the partnership and project itself ended in 1917 in a squabble over money). In total, it’s believed that 25 American System-Built Homes were constructed. Several of them are located in Milwaukee’s Burnham Street Historic District and were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
One American System-Built project in Milwaukee that wasn’t so fortunate was a pair of four-unit apartment buildings known as the Arthur R. Munkwitz Duplex Apartments located just outside of the Burnham Street Historic District. Named for Arthur L. Richards’ partner, the duplex apartments were demolished in 1973 to make way for road widening according to William Allin Storrer’s "The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wight: A Complete Catalog." Another American System-Built Home, the Wilbur Wyant House in Gary, Ind., also met an unfortunate demise when it was destroyed by fire in 2006.