At the turn of the 20th century, Oak Park was a community of about 12,500 residents situated along the streetcar lines west of Chicago. The up-and-coming community had recently won political independence from its neighbors and was open to innovative, daring architecture.
Wright had established his home and studio in Oak Park (just a few blocks from Unity Temple) and many of his early works were created here. He had lived in Oak Park for over 15 years by the time he designed Unity Temple.
After Wright's Unitarian Universalist church burned down following a lightning strike in 1905, the congregation asked Wright to design a replacement. The project was not without its challenges: Wright had a small budget of just $40,000 and a noisy corner lot. But the gifted architect rose to the occasion, and the unique new church was dedicated in 1909.