THE STORY BEHIND BLUE SKY MAUSOLEUM
TWO EXCEPTIONAL MEN AND AN EXTRAORDINARY FRIENDSHIP
Frank Lloyd Wright designed Blue Sky Mausoleum at the request of Darwin D. Martin, secretary of the Larkin Soap Company. It was the last of four projects Martin personally commissioned from Wright; the others were his residential complex (which included a home for his sister and her family, known as the Barton House, and a gardener's cottage), Larkin headquarters, and Graycliff, the family's summer home.
The men’s thirty-year friendship was deeply important to both of them. Martin championed and funded Wright, fostered his creative genius, and basked in his oversized personality. Wright, in turn, produced outstanding buildings for Martin, and rewarded his investment by making large, legendary footprints on the world’s architectural landscape.
Correspondence reveals that the two men discussed Blue Sky Mausoleum between 1925 and 1928, and also reflects Martin’s desire to bring his family together for all eternity at Forest Lawn. Alas, it was never built. When Martin passed away in 1935, Wright said, “Today my best friend has died.”
In 2004, Forest Lawn Cemetery faithfully rendered Blue Sky in conjunction with an architect trained by Wright himself, based on extensive research into Wright's drawings, notes, and correspondence. Today, its broad stairs and soaring monolith rise toward the heavens, as Wright had envisioned and Martin had desired.
This beautiful structure will remain unique forever; its design has been retired. Blue Sky Mausoleum will hold a lasting place of renown in the international realm of memorialization architecture – Wright and Martin's timeless legacy to the world.
The drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright are Copyright © 2004 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ.