My Little Corner of the Net

Monday, August 28, 2023

Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park

I was surprised to learn that before Frank Lloyd Wright became an internationally-recognized name in the world of design, he spent many years in Oak Park, Illinois, designing homes for Chicago-area residents and neighbors. Most of these homes are within walking distance of his home and studio.

To see my post on his home and studio click HERE

The map above was posted at the gift shop of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and studio.

I found this map online which is also available for sale by a local group (see link below).  It shows the order that the 25 houses in the area where built.

My wife and I did a drive by of the neighborhood.  In most cases it is fairly easy to pick out a Wright designed hose among the mostly Victorian ones in the area.

The following is a compiled list of these 25 houses.  I enjoy how Wright went out of his way to make each home individual and different. There are several articles online and walking tours that include these residences.  So here is a list in random order:

Harry S. Adams House

710 Augusta Street, Oak Park, IL 60302

This was the last home that Wright designed for the Oak Park suburb. Built in 1913, the home displays many of the Prairie characteristics of Wright's work.

William E. Martin House

636 North East Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Built between 1902 and 1903, the William E. Martin House is a fairly tall structure compared to the usual squat one- to two-story Prairie style homes with flat rooflines that Wright is well known for designing. Back in 2010, the house hit the market and spent three years bouncing on and off the MLS before it sold in September 2013 for $1.075 million.

Oscar B. Balch House

611 North Kenilworth Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Like many of Wright's homes, the Oscar B. Balch House is architecturally significant for being a design completed at the height of Wright's exploration of the Prairie School movement. However, this home is also important for being Wright's first commission after returning to Oak Park after abandoning his family and escaping to Europe with his mistress, Mamah Cheney. The home was built in 1911.

William G. Fricke House

540 Fair Oaks Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Built between 1901 and 1902, the Fricke House is notable for being one of Wright's early "true" Prairie style homes. The home, which features a tall, lean, and strikingly modern appearance, was designed by Wright during a short-lived partnership with the architect Webster Tomlinson.

Harry C. Goodrich House

534 North East Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Built in 1896, the Goodrich House is one of the older Wright homes in the area. It  predates Wright's full-fledged dive into Prairie style, but it does feature hints at the emerging style. For instance, if the steep-pitched roof were not a part of the design and the window band was flattened, the house would be a strong example of Wright's brand of Prairie School.

 Edward H. Cheney House

520 North East Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Constructed in 1901 for Mamah Borthwick and Edwin H. Cheney, the low-slung house initially appears to be a single-story brick bungalow-style residence, but the brick wall surrounding the property conceals the above-ground basement level. The commission was also Wright's introduction to Mamah Borthwick Cheney, who he would later participate in a romantic affair with.

Rollin Furbeck House

515 Fair Oaks Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Not to be confused with the George Furbeck House also in Oak Park, the Rollin Furbeck House is considered Prairie School Style. The tall home represents a departure to Wright's typical modest, low-hanging rooflines and represents a more grand scale of Prairie style.

 Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

951 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Perhaps the most famous Wright-designed home in Oak Park is Frank Lloyd Wright's personal home and studio on Chicago Avenue. Wright built the home in 1889 with a loan he secured through his employer and legendary Chicago School architect Louis Sullivan. Today, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust manages and maintains the property. The group also provides daily guided tours through the house.

To see my post about the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio click HERE

 Robert P. Parker House

1019 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

The Parker House is one of Wright's infamous "bootleg" homes—commissions that Wright took under the table during his employment with Sullivan & Adler. Wright built a few bootleg homes in Oak Park, but Louis Sullivan eventually caught wind and ultimately dismissed Wright from his firm. The house sold in July of 2014 for $750,000, but returned to the market in May 2017 seeking $840,000. It found a buyer in late 2019 for a lower sum of $685,000.

 Thomas H. Gale House

1027 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Another bootleg home, the Thomas Gale House is representative of Wright's earlier work. The house's design is very similar to the nearby Robert P. Parker House. Both homes exhibit more Victorian influences—such as steeply pitched roofs and angular turrets—when compared to the designer’s later style.

 Walter H. Gale House

1031 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

While the Walter Gale House shares some aesthetic similarities to Wright's bootleg homes, the house is actually a legitimate commission—it was Wright's first independent commission after being fired by Louis Sullivan in 1893. The house stands immediately next door to the Thomas H. Gale House.


Francis J. Woolley House

1030 Superior Street, Oak Park, IL 60302

Similar to Wright's other bootleg homes, this Queen Anne built in 1893 is very representative of Wright's early work. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and Wright's teacher Joseph Silsbee, the home is more representative of its era and not necessarily of Wright's personality or the Prairie style that Wright would later make famous. The house listed in September 2014 for $1.2 million and sold just five days later.


Nathan G. Moore House

333 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

The Nathan Moore House is a little bit of an oddball in terms of Frank Lloyd Wright houses. It was originally designed and built in 1895 in the Tudor Revival style, at the request of the homeowner. It was said that this house was never a personal favorite of Wright's, a fire in the early 1920s allowed the architect to add some Prairie School elements during the home's renovation.


William H. Copeland House

400 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

If this house doesn't look like a Frank Lloyd Wright home it's because it was originally built in the 1870s—long before Wright made his mark on Oak Park. However, the home was extensively remodeled by Wright in 1909. The property was recently on the market for $1.17 million.


Arthur B. Heurtley House

318 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

The Arthur B. Heurtley House is not just one of Wright's most important works in Oak Park, but it's generally recognized as one of the greatest designs in Wright's career. Constructed in 1902, the house is an early example of Wright's flair for Prairie elements, although the house isn't exactly modest with its arched entryway and large massing. The Heurtley House is considered Wright's Prairie School Style.


Edward R. Hills House

313 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

By 1906, Wright had fully matured as an architect and his brand of Prairie School was well defined. Originally built in 1874, the house was relocated and almost entirely remodeled by Wright in his signature Prairie School style.

 Harrison P. Young House

334 North Kenilworth Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

The Young House is another home that was built in the 1870s but later remodeled by Wright in the 1890s. Though originally built in the Tudor Revival style, Wright added a wide outdoor porch and fireplaces to the living room and master bedrooms. The house was also pushed back 16 feet from its original location on the property.

Charles E. Roberts House

321 North Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

This home was originally designed and built by the iconic Chicago firm Burnham & Root in 1879. In 1896, Wright was hired to remodel the interior of the house. Charles Roberts would later tap Wright for other assignments.


Charles E. Roberts Stable House

317 North Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Similar to Charles Roberts' main house, this old barn and stable was remodeled in 1896. The barn was later transformed into a residence by former Wright associate Charles E. White, Jr.

Laura Gale House

6 Elizabeth Court, Oak Park, IL 60302

Designed and built in 1909, the house not only exemplifies Wright’s brand of Prairie style, but it’s actually an evolution that would ultimately lead Wright to design his iconic and world-famous Fallingwater in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Laura Gale House is Wright’s first residence to feature a prominent cantilevered design.

Peter A. Beachy House

238 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

Originally a small Gothic-style cottage, this home was extensively remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1906. The interior of the house was almost entirely rehabbed and Wright designed custom furniture to accompany its refreshed look.

George W. Furbeck House

223 North Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

The George Furbeck House is quite compact and toped with pointed turrets. Considered a transitional work, the house was designated an Oak Park landmark in 2002. The Furbeck House had bounced on and off the market for several years before finally selling for $650,000 in March 2014.

 Frank W. Thomas House

210 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

This Prairie School Design was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1901. Considered one of Wright's first true Prairie School designs, the house has distinct horizontal planes and an arched entryway—an element that it shares with the nearby Heurtley House and later the Dana Thomas House.

George W. Smith House

404 Home Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

This home reflects a transitional period for Wright, as it blends both Queen Anne and Prairie elements together. The house was originally commissioned by Charles E. Roberts, but was eventually purchased by and named after George W. Smith, a Marshall Field & Company salesman. The house was designed by Wright in 1895 but completed in 1898.


Wright also designed and attended the Unity Temple Church. Click  HERE 

to see my post about it.



1 comment:

  1. Fantastically researched post on a true visionary artist of architecture. Kudos.