Our team

  • Gilbert Brian CooleyOwner

    G.B. Cooley was born in Savannah, Illinois, but in 1894 he moved to Monroe with his wife, Selena Kugler Cooley and started the Monroe Steam Laundry.  Cooley became one of the city’s most successful businessmen, and he soon set his mind to building a new home for his wife and him.  Cooley’s brother and Walter Burley Griffin’s parents are believed to have been friends in Chicago.  It is probably through this connection that Cooley and Griffin became acquainted.  Once they met, it is of little surprise that these two innovative men recognized a kinship.  Beyond their entrepreneurial natures, they both took strides to improve the human condition.  Griffin did this through his design.  Cooley did this through his efforts to battle tuberculosis.  Cooley was instrumental in rallying the support of wealthy Monroe families to build a hospital to treat the tuberculosis epidemic.  Because of his leadership, the hospital was named in his honor:  the G.B. Cooley Sanitorium.   Over time, the large-scale threat of tuberculosis faded and the hospital’s focus shifted.  It became known as the G.B. Cooley Hospital or G.B. Cooley Services for Persons with Developmental Needs.   Captain Cooley died in November 1952, at the age of 87.  Mr. and Mrs. Cooley are buried on the grounds of the hospital, located in West Monroe.

  • Walter Burley GriffinArchitect

    Griffin was a young architect in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. In 1901, he took a job working for architectural legend Frank Lloyd Wright. With Wright and a handful of others, he helped to define a new American style of architecture. This group of architects was deeply influenced by Louis Sullivan, who called for an architecture that was free from the influences of older European styles, one that would reflect the spirit of this new country. What developed became known as the Prairie School, named for the influence it took from the prairies of the Midwest. It was characterized by open floor plans, horizontal lines, and natural materials.

  • Marion Mahony GriffinArchitect

    Marion Mahony was born in Chicago in 1871 and moved to the suburb of Winnetka, following the 1880 Chicago Fire.  She became the second female to graduate from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1897 and the first female licensed architect in Illinois.  She worked in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Studio, producing watercolor renderings of his early designs.  In 1911, while on honeymoon with Walter Burley Griffin, the couple learned of an international design competition for the new capital city of Australia.  Marion’s watercolor renderings made a strong impression with the review committee and in 1914, the couple moved to Australia.  Marion was in charge of the Sydney office as well as their private design commissions.  From 1935 to 1937, she managed an office and construction projects in India.  Marion closed the Australian and Indian offices and returned to Chicago, following Walter’s death in 1937.  She worked extensively on a 1,400 memoir titled “The Magic of America” which was unpublished.  Marion died in 1961, at the age of 90, and was buried in Graceland Cemetery.