FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT TOURS IN OAK PARK

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Robert G Emmond House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1892

Posted by George Pudlo on November 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)


Robert G Emmond House

109 S Eighth Ave, La Grange, Illinois 60525

The date of the Robert Emmond House, 1892, indicates that this is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's bootleg houses, being that it was not an Adler & Sullivan commission. The Emmond House is very similar to the Robert Parker and Thomas Gale houses of Oak Park, virtually identical in fact, though mirrored. Despite its Victorian massing, the house maintains a strong sense of geometry, with sharp lines and angles, giving it a modern edge. The beautiful ribbon of diamond paned art glass windows wrapped around the polygonal bay is a common feature of Wright's. Unlike the Gale and Parker Houses, the house has arched entryways, again reminiscent of Louis Sullivan. The side porch was a later addition. 

George Blossom House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1892

Posted by George Pudlo on March 13, 2011 at 11:46 PM Comments comments (0)

Located in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, the George Blossom House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's earliest designs completed in 1892. The George Blossom House is also one of the bootleg houses that Frank Lloyd Wright completed while still employed with the firm of Adler & Sullivan. It is one house south of the Warren MacArthur House, another of Frank Lloyd Wright's bootleg homes. The juxtaposition of these two 1892 Frank Lloyd Wright Homes is incredible, as the viewer, even if he was not a Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast, would conclude that the two home were not created by the same architect because of how vastly different they are.

The George Blossom House is unlike any other of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. Sometimes declared Dutch Colonial, Neoclassical, or Palladian,  the George Blossom House also has undertones of a Prairie Style Home. It could even be considered a very early Prairie Home. Though the ornament of the structure points to a home of European influence (and simultaneously demonstrates Wright's ability to build in the European tradition despite his negative attitude toward doing so), the general massing of the house points to the Prairie Style. The formation of the front of the house looks similar to that of the Winslow House, though without the frieze of ornament beneath the roofline. The George Blossom House has a low hipped roof with overhanging eaves that would be seen in Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style Houses nearly a decade later. 

The house is beautiful, though it looks fragile and could certainly use a little work. The front porch looks dangerously decayed and the wooden spindles of the side porch are so warped they are nearly touching each other, but there is a certain beauty in this. The George Blossom House sits on a corner lot, so when walking around the side of the house, one can see that the back of the house differs from the front in its massing -it has a rounded bay that pushes out of the back of the home. The detailing in the window-work is pristine. 

Frank Lloyd Wright would later build a detached garage behind the George Blossom House that is designed in full Prairie Style. It mimics the general massing of the actual home, but is stripped of historic influence. The low hipped roof and overextending eaves match the home, and the additional use of yellow Roman bricks, ribbons of windows,  and general formation make the house Prairie Style. 




Francis Woolley House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1893

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)



Francis Woolley House, 1893

1030 Superior Avenue, Oak Park IL


The Francis Wooley House in Oak Park was one was of Wright’s earliest independent commissions and is stylistically typical of the time period, though not specifically to Wright. The Wooley House is arguably the least dramatic of Wright’s designs, though this may be attributed to the small budget Wright had to work with. In the Wooley House, he was trying to demonstrate that a beautiful house could be built for a small price, though Wright would have trouble doing this in his later career. The characteristics that point directly to Wright are the overhanging roof eaves, still a new concept in his buildings, as well as the siding. Horizontal clapboard siding is brought up to just beneath the windowsills of the second floor. Typically this type of siding would cover the entire façade, or it would be brought up to the first floor. But Wright would often raise the siding to the base of the second floor, as seen later in the Harry Goodrich House of 1896. Between the horizontal clapboard siding and the roof are shingles, another common feature of Wright’s early work. For a time, the Wooley House was covered in asphalt shingles, but has recently been restored to Wright’s original exterior design.


Thomas Gale House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1892

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Thomas Gale House, 1892
1027 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park IL

The Gales were a highly prominent family of the Oak Park community in the late 19th Century. Thomas Gale owned six lots on the block of Chicago Avenue immediately west of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home. Thomas Gale would end up selling the other lots on this block to friends and neighbors. This house was built shortly after the Robert Parker House (commissioned by T. Gale, and then sold to Parker), and is also a “bootleg” house. The house is virtually identical to both the Robert Parker House, two doors east, and the Robert Emmond House in La Grange, Illinois. It is a modification of the so called Queen Anne Style of the day, but in a more geometricized manner. Ribbons of windows wrap around the polygonal bays in both the front and back of the house, top and bottom floors. This began the early stages of breaking the box, as Wright proclaimed. The windows are delicately partitioned by thin slabs of wood and lined along the bays in such a manner that leaves little actual wall space on the interior. Rather than relying on paintings or photographs as décor, Wright is asking nature into the home to be the decorative element one experiences while in the interior.

Robert Parker House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1892

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Robert Parker House, 1892
1019 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park IL

The Robert Parker House was originally commissioned by Thomas Gale, who owned the six lots on Chicago Avenue, immediately west of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home & Studio. The house was then sold to Robert Parker, a fellow attorney friend of Thomas Gale. Robert Parker at one time was a member of the Chicago White Stockings. At the time Wright was commissioned to build this house, he was still working for Adler & Sullivan, and it was strictly forbidden in his contract to take on outside work. The design of this “bootleg” house, as well the others he designed in Oak Park and Chicago would eventually lead to Wright’s dismissal from the firm. The Robert Parker House is a modification of the so called Queen Anne Style of the day, but in a more geometricized manner. Ribbons of windows wrap around the polygonal bays in both the front and back of the house, top and bottom floors. This began the early stages of breaking the box, as Wright proclaimed. The windows are delicately partitioned by thin slabs of wood and lined along the bays in such a manner that leaves little actual wall space on the interior. The garage in the back of the house was originally built as a stable. The prominent entrance and noticeable basement are clues that this is one of his early works.

Warren McArthur House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1892

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)





Warren McArthur House, 1892
4852 S Kenwood, Chicago IL

The George Blossom House’s next door neighbor, the Warren McArthur House, similarly blends historic similes with common characteristics of Wright’s early work. Described primarily as Dutch Colonial, the Warren McArthur House has a gambrel roof that lends it a barn like appearance. The house is situated sideways on the lot, with the main entrance and wider massing of the home facing the George Blossom House next door. Arches in the porch facing the street point to the influence of Louis Sullivan, as does the arched window in the attic. Dormer windows point backward to the Queen Anne Style, while its detailed corner windows, concrete stylobate, and stucco surface point forward. The rear of the house is conducted in the Shingle Style, as seen in Frank Lloyd Wright’s own Home & Studio in Oak Park, and influenced by his first employer, Joseph Silsbee. Both the George Blossom and Warren McArthur Houses make use of Roman brick, Wright’s preferred brick. Wright and McArthur were friends.

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