Miller knocked around with his brother exploring what there was to explore near his home growing up. They would go camping for days in the nearby hills, where Edgar drew. And drew. Creating pictures of wildflowers was a passion. One of his high school teachers saw his talent and got him accepted at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1917.
He took to the city the way he took to his art, eventually creating a live-work art community much of which exists still today. Most famous for his stained glass, he was a pioneer in graphic art advertising, and influential in architecture.
Miller loved growing up in Idaho. He saw a painting of Custer’s Last Stand when he was four and from that moment wanted nothing more than to be an artist. He began sketching everything he saw. Much of his work was inspired by his childhood in and around the frontier town.
For more on Edgar Miller, see this Time Magazine slideshow of his work. A comprehensive article about Miller is available from on the CITYLAB website. The Edgar Miller Legacy is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the art and "handmade homes" he created. Finally, there is quite a lavish book called Edgar Miller and the Hand-Made Home: Chicago's Forgotten Renaissance Man.
Thanks to architectural historian Julie Williams of Idaho Falls for telling me about Edgar Miller.