-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A tour of Oak Park neighbourhood

After the tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's house & studio, I went on a walk to see some of the other houses in the neighbourhood (armed with an ipod shuffle audio guide from the shop). It's a pity the sun wasn't out, but it was still interesting, although I'd hate to live there as you'd feel on show all the time!

What struck me the most is that if you'd shown me a photo of his houses, and I'd not known their provenance, I'd have guessed they were 1960-70's era. That's the time I associate (at least in Australia) with flatter roofs, horizontal emphasis, chunky block pillars, etc. But these houses are 100 years old! That alone makes me appreciate what a visionary he was.

Here are my pictures and links to find out more information about each house (including nicer photos). You can also see the full set of my photos here.

Robert Parker house (1892)
This house is at 1019 Chicago Avenue and is one of the 'bootleg' houses, in that he designed it secretly while still working with Louis Sullivan's firm. I liked it a lot from the outside, far more so than many of his other houses, but that's because I guess I just prefer that Victorian/QueenAnne-ish style! To me, this house is combining the best of that style with the best of Frank Lloyd Wright (although I'm sure he would totally disagree). You can get more information about it here.
013 robert parker house at 1019 chicago av

Walter Gale house (1893)
This house is another of his bootlegs, at 1031 Chicago avenue. I like it for similar reasons, although it errs a bit too much on the side of 'fairy tale' for my taste. In particular, I'm not sure if I like or dislike the elongated window feature but it's interesting, I've not seen it done before. You can see more pictures of it here.
016 walter gale house at 1031 chicago ave

Nathon Moore house (1895/1923)
This house is at 333 Forest Avenue and is among the most schizophrenic of buildings I've ever seen, at least from the outside. Tudor on one side, gothicky windows in the front and then "modern" on the other. You can find out more about it here.
031 nathan moore house at 333 forest ave 027 nathan moore house at 333 forest ave
025 nathan moore house at 333 forest ave

Hills de Caro house (1896/1906)
This house is at 313 Forest Avenue. I was quite intrigued by the windows, they seem to be almost crouching over each other. You can find out more about it here.
033 hills decaro house 313 forest ave 034 hills decaro house 313 forest ave

Arthur Heurtley house (1902)
This is at 318 Forest Avenue. I really dislike the outside, but the inside I imagine is wonderful. The chimney is actually in the middle of the house... the audio guide said there was a lovely open fireplace in the centre of the main room. You can find out more about it here.
035 arthur heurtley house 318 forest ave 036  arthur heurtley house 318 forest ave

Laura Gale house (1906)
This is at 6 Elizabeth Court, which is a small road running off Forest Avenue. This was on a much smaller scale to the other houses, and to keep the cost down even further seems to be primarily concrete! I don't like it much from the outside, although I think the giant planter at 2nd storey level is interesting... it's the size of a small wading pool! Of course, totally impractical in that you'd need a giant ladder to reach it, but nice concept. You can find out more about it here.
039  laura gale house at 6 elizabeth ct

Peter Beachy house (1906)
This is at 238 Forest Avenue. If I was forced to live in one of his Prairie Style houses, this would be it. I imagine it's wonderful from the inside, but I don't like the outside much. You can find out more about it here.
041 peter beachy house at 238 Forest Ave

Frank Thomas house (1901)
This is at 210 Forest Avenue. It was the only one which had the stained glass windows I'd expected to see from Frank Lloyd Wright. You can find out more about it here.
047 frank thomas house at 210 Forest Ave

Harrison Young house (1895)
This is at 334 Kenilworth Avenue. You can find out more about it here.
080 Harrison Young house at 334 Kenilworth

The houses above are all Frank Lloyd Wright designs. But there are other old houses, mixed in, from the same era and I found it interesting to see how they compared. Here are a few of them:

8 Elizabeth court (1871)
I liked the porch entrance especially. It is right next door to the Laura Gale house and I'd guessed it was relatively newly built from a kit, until I read about it here! It was apparently originally in another site on Kenilworth and not moved to this location until 1899.
040 cute entrance at 8 elizabeth court

300 Kenilworth Ave (1890)
This is now a B&B and was pointed out on the FLW tour as being a great example of Queen Anne style. It was designed by Wesley Arnold who apparently also designed the house where Ernest Hemingway was born.
058 queen anne style house at 300 kenilworth ave

308 Kenilworth Ave (1886)
This was pointed out as being a classic example of Stick style architecture. It was apparently built from a pattern book so the architect is unknown.
060 stick style house at 308 kenilworth

John Rankin house (1889)
This is at 245 Kenilworth Avenue and was designed by Patton & Fisher. You can find out more about it here.
065 john rankin house at 245 kenilworth (not FLW)

408 Kenilworth Ave (1890/1908)
This was apparently remodelled so extensively in 1908 by Tallmadge & Watson, that all traces of the original Queen Anne house vanished!
081 408 kenilworth (not FLW)

Simpson Dunlop house (1897)
This is at 417 Kenilworth Avenue and was designed by EE Roberts. You can find out more here.
082 simpson dunlop house at 417 Kenilworth (not FLW)

Charles Matthews house (1909)
This is at 432 Kenilworth Avenue and was designed by Tallmadge and Watson. You can find out more here.
084 charles matthew house at 432 Kenilworth (not FLW)

Americus Melville house (1904)
This is at 437 Kenilworth Ave and was designed by EE Roberts. You can find out more about it here.
086 abmelville house at 437 kenilworth


Anonymous said...

Cool! Jeannie and I have done the FLW house tour (it was our first date, actually!) but we haven't done the Oak Park neighborhood tour. Your post reminds me that I really wanted to go.

- Aaron

Jocelyn said...

Hi! Good for you you fit some Chicago architecture into your trip. We are in Chicago and haven't done the FLW tour either!

This Spring or summer hopefully.
The Rookery and Chicago Board of Trade on LaSalle Street are quite amazing to see- maybe you saw them as well.

Thanks to you, next time I get to London (I have family in Reading) we will be going to the Liberty Store :)

Ms. P in Jackson said...

The architecture in those houses practically takes your breath away. Simply stunning.

Thanks for sharing the pictures.