Boston native Louis Henry Sullivan was an innovative architect and designer who spent his career in Chicago, much of it in partnership with architect and engineer Dankmar Adler. Sullivan designed iconic commercial buildings in Chicago and other cities, as well as a number of small bank buildings throughout the Midwest. He mentored and inspired architect Frank Lloyd Wright at the start of the latter’s career.
Prairie School architect George Grant Elmslie was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He worked with Louis Sullivan and later with William Gray Purcell as a partner in the firm Purcell & Elmslie, a firm that became one of the most commissioned firms among the Prairie School architects, second only to Frank Lloyd Wright. Following the dissolution of his partnership with Purcell in 1921, Elmslie worked occasionally with various other architects and produced a number of banks, train stations, commercial, and institutional buildings during the 1920s and 1930s. Founded by William Day Gates in 1881, the American Terra Cotta Tile and Ceramic Company was the country's first manufactury of architectural terra cotta.