Oak Park

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, IL, is distinguished in architectural circles for being the first professional home of Frank Lloyd Wright. At the start of his career, in the 1880s, it was on the edge of the prairie, but already where the wealthy were building their homes.

Today, it possesses an astonishing collection of wonderful houses and other buildings from around the turn of the century, not only Wright's firsts, but also fine examples of "Victorians" (Queen Anne and Stick styles), Shingle, Arts & Crafts, and of course Prairie styles.

It's remarkable to see all these houses in juxtaposition; almost all the ones pictured below are on just a couple blocks of a single street, Forest Avenue! And there are dozens more of similar quality in Oak Park and neighboring River Forest.

Houses along and near Forest Avenue:

Wright's Frank W. Thomas house of 1901.
A closer view of the entrance.
A Stick Style house, probably from around 1880.
A magnificent Queen Anne house of 1893, by George Hayden
Wright's Peter A. Beachy House of 1906.
Another attractive Stick Style house.
An eclectic house of the 1880s, probably.
Wright's Mrs. Thomas H. Gale house of 1909.
Classic Prairie: Wright's Arthur B. Heurtley house of 1902, with its long, low, horizontal lines.
The front of the Heurtley house.
Eclectic Wright: his Nathan G. Moore house. First built in 1895, Wright got a chance to remodel it in 1923 after a fire.
A side elevation, showing Gothic and Tudor themes, as well as Wright's favorite horizontal brickwork.
Wright's own home, of 1889, in a Shingle style.
The front of the Studio addition of 1898, with amusing Sullivan-esque stork decorations.
More early Wright: his Walter H. Gale house of 1893. This is one of his "bootleg" houses, designed secretly when he was under contract to Louis Sullivan, and not allowed to do so.

Unity Temple:

This Universalist church is one of Wright's masterpieces. It still looks strikingly modern almost 100 years later. Designed in 1905, it was built with reinforced concrete cast on site. This construction saved a lot of money, and provided sound insulation against the busy street outside. It is stilled owned and operated by the congregation. See their web site for more info, including the original brochure.

A portion of the exterior elevation.
The entrance hall connecting the church itself and the social hall The complete motto is, "For the Worship of God and the Service of Man.
A view out the top-story windows, from what is now a day-care room.
An exterior light.
A panorama of the church interior. (This was tough to do, with low light necessitating raising the ASA, thus increasing image noise.)

These pictures were taken with a Canon G2 digital camera. Images were cropped, balanced, etc. with Adobe Photoshop Elements.

schooler@alum.mit.edu