George W. Maher (1864-1926) was an architect who was an influential contributor to the Prairie School movement and to American Arts and Crafts design. Based in Chicago, he sought to create an original American architecture that was free from historical references, an architecture in which form would follow function creating a unified integrated design.
Maher’s work was bold, original, idiosyncratic and occasionally controversial. From the beginning of his independent career, his work was frequently published and reviewed in Inland Architect and News Record, Architectural Record, Western Architect and other influential architectural journals of the day. Whenever possible, this site uses photographs from those original articles to present a record of Maher’s work.
George Maher was born in 1864 on Christmas day in Mill Creek, West Virginia. Due to continuing financial difficulties his family moved to New Albany, Indiana and then to Chicago where at the young age of 13 he became an apprentice in the architectural firm of Bauer and Hill. At the time Chicago was becoming a center for innovation in architecture as it was being rebuilt from the fire of 1871. By 1887 Maher was working in the large and influential office of Joseph L. Silsbee where Frank Lloyd Wright and George Grant Elmslie were among his co-workers. In 1888 Maher opened his own practice.