John Lautner – Famous Architect, Marquette Native

In honor of Marquette native John Lautner’s one hundredth birthday in 2011, two Marquette museums – the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University and the Marquette Regional History Center, are both holding exhibits on Lautner’s life and work. For more information on both exhibits, you can visit, which has links to both museums and their exhibits.

Below is a short piece from my book My Marquette about the John Lautner home in Marquette:

1308 Presque Isle Ave ~ Lautner Home

John Lautner home Presque Isle Ave Marquette

John Lautner's boyhood home

This home was built by John Edward Lautner Sr. in 1912. He was a professor of modern languages at Northern Normal School and his wife was a budding artist. The house is a New England salt box style which looks like it belongs in Salem, Massachusetts. While an architect drew up the plans for the house, John Sr. and his son John Jr. built the house by hand. John Jr. would later become a famous architect himself who would study with Frank Lloyd Wright. John Lautner Jr. married Mary Roberts, the granddaughter of John and Mary Longyear. He would go on to design numerous buildings including the Googie Coffee Shop at the corner of Sunset Strip and Crescent Heights in Los Angeles, the Bob Hope home in Palm Springs, and the Chemosphere house, a raised octagonal home which looks like a flying saucer and was used in the film Body Double. Movie stars David and Courtney Cox Arquette today reside in one of his homes. Two books have been published about his work—John Lautner, Architect by Frank Escher and The Architecture of John Lautner by Alan Hess.

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9 Comments on “John Lautner – Famous Architect, Marquette Native”

  1. […] My Marquette (blog) September 11, 2011 […]

  2. There is an error in your history: Lautner’s family did not build John Lautner’s boyhood home. He was born in 1911, so you can see how impossible that would have been. John helped in the building of Midgaard, a cabin on Lake Superior designed by his mother.

    Thanks for writing about him!

    • Hi Judith,
      Thanks for catching that. You’re absolutely right. I should have caught that. I knew he had helped with the building of Midgaard at Middle Island Point. Do you know anything else about this house? Did the Lautner family buy the house from someone else?
      We are all very proud of your father in Marquette.

  3. This house is a wonderful home, but it is also home to a spirit.
    I lived in this house for almost 7 years and I experienced many paranormal activities within it. Former and past residents will also confirm that here is a ghostly spirit that wonders through the home
    at night.

  4. leah duquette Says:

    I lived here for 5 years as a child and absolutely adore it and am so saddened by the state of it these days. I can’t figure out why the Lautner family would let it deteriorate and be destroyed by students instead of selling it to someone who would love it and restore it to it’s grandeur. It’s such an amazing home. In terms of the spirits, I thought I heard noises and my brothers claim they saw something/someone one time while in the third floor maid quarters. Could be. . . .

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