Lindley Johnson, one of the founders of Philadelphia's T-Square Club, was born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, the son of Mary W. and Joseph Warner Johnson. After attending the Lauderbach Academy and Germantown Academy, Johnson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1875. He then studied three years in the Atelier Moyaux
in Paris and spent one year in the office of Frank Furness
back in Philadelphia before launching his own firm. On his application for membership in the Philadelphia Chapter, AIA, Johnson notes that his practice concentrates on residential design, with a measure of country clubs, hotels, and churches as well. Most of the projects cited in the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide
support his residential work; however, Johnson is also credited with several resort hotels in both New Jersey and Virginia. Johnson's work was also associated with the development of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, where he designed a number of structures, including a music pavilion, guardhouse, and even drinking fountains.
As an Ecole graduate, Johnson was active in the Beaux-Arts Society based in New York City and, according to his membership application for the Philadelphia Chapter, AIA, received a medal for his design for a "Hospital for Tubercular Subjects" in an international exposition held in Washington, DC. In 1891 he applied for the position of U.S. Supervising Architect, to succeed James H. Windrim but was rejected in favor of Willoughby J. Edbrooke of Chicago.