E Arthur Davenport House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1901

Posted by George Pudlo on May 16, 2011 at 8:23 PM Comments comments (0)

E Arthur Davenport House
559 Ashland Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

The E Arthur Davenport is an early Prairie Style House, not quite as complex as other houses built around that year by Frank Lloyd Wright, but nonetheless displaying Prairie characteristics. The E Arthur Davenport House is cruciform in plan (like the Ward Willets House, also built in 1901), with a large central portion protruding closer to the front of the property line. A board and batten base is brought up to the just beneath the window sills of the second floor, leaving a small stuccoed area with a band of windows just beneath the rooflines. Frank Lloyd Wright often brought the lower level materials -whether they be brick, horizontal clapboard siding, or board and batten wood -up to the second level just beneath the line of windows on the second level. This can be seen in the Francis Wooley, Rollin Furbeck, and Harry Goodrich Houses in Oak Park. The roof lines of the E Arthur Davenport House are a little primitive to the more mature Prairie Style Houses -not quite high pitched, not quite low pitched. Art glass windows, similar in design to those seen in the Frank Thomas House of 1901, elevate the sense of intimacy and privacy while inviting nature and sunlight into the home. 

River Forest Tennis Club, Frank Lloyd Wright 1906

Posted by George Pudlo on May 16, 2011 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

River Forest Tennis Club

615 Lathrop Avenue

River Forest, IL 60305

The River Forest Tennis Club made its debut in River Forest, Illinois in 1905. After only a year of being opened, the club burned down in a fire, and Frank Lloyd Wright was enlisted for the design of the new tennis club. According to the River Forest Tennis Club, the original structure cost $1,100 and Frank Lloyd Wright's new structure just a year later cost $2, 629.75. The River Forest Tennis Club also says:

"On the day this building was to open, Mr. Wright evidently concluded that the assembly room appeared long, narrow and low. The painters had not yet removed their equipment, and with one of their brushes, he applied colored squares on the cross beams which then ran the full length of the room, thereby increasing the appearance of the height and width and reducing the length."

The current location of the club is a few blocks west of the original site, as it was moved when the land it was situated on was acquired by the Cook County Forest Preserve Commission. The low hipped roofs and board and batten exterior of the River Forest Tennis Club undoubtedly point to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Walter Gerts House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1911

Posted by George Pudlo on May 16, 2011 at 8:06 PM Comments comments (0)

Walter Gerts House (remodeled by Wright)
7214 Quick Street
River Forest, IL 60305

Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to remodel a house for Walter Gerts after a fire badly damaged the structure that was originally designed by Charles E. White. Several elements point to Wright, such as the stucco exterior, strong geometrical massing near the front porch area, and interesting roof lines.

Isabel Roberts House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1908

Posted by George Pudlo on May 16, 2011 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Isabel Roberts House
603 Edgewood Place
River Forest, IL 60305

Completed in 1908, the Isabel Roberts House is located just down the street from the Chauncey Williams House that was built thirteen years prior in 1895. The evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style is apparent when comparing the two structures. Art glass windows face the entire central portion of the home, and two wings flank either side of the central massing. True to the Prairie Style, the Isabel Roberts House maintains a low profile with strong horizontal lines. Unique to this structure is the tree growing out of the roof of the south wing. The Isabel Roberts House was originally faced in stucco, but was later covered in brick with Wright's assistance. Isabel Roberts was a member of Frank Lloyd Wright's design team. 

J Kibben Ingalls House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1909

Posted by George Pudlo on May 15, 2011 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (1)

J Kibben Ingalls House
562 Keystone Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

The J Kibben Ingalls House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909: the same year he closed down his studio in Oak Park for a brief escape to Europe with his mistress, Mamah Cheney. The Ingalls House is an example of a fully mature Prairie Style house. Earlier photographs show the J Kibben Ingalls House with brown trim and dark brown shingles on the roof. Today, the house has green trim with light grey shingles. It is symmetrical in its massing and displays all of the features of a fully mature Prairie Style house: concrete water table, strong, horizontal lines, screens of art glass windows, low hipped roofs, broad, central chimney, and stucco exterior. Cantilevered balconies flank the J Kibben Ingalls House on either side. The horizontally streamlined planters on the lower floor were probably not an original part of Frank Lloyd Wright's design for the house as they are not seen in earlier photographs of the house.

Chauncey Williams House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1895

Posted by George Pudlo on May 15, 2011 at 11:33 PM Comments comments (0)

Chauncey Williams House
530 Edgewood Place
River Forest, IL 60305

The Chauncey Williams House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1895, during his experimental and transitional phase leading up to the development of the Prairie Style. The Chauncey Williams House is a tripartite structure, reminiscent of Louis Sullivan's idea, with a clearly defined base, shaft, and capital. The base of the Chauncey Williams House is made of roman brick, Wright's favorite choice of brick in his early career. The base is also marked by large built in stones of different shapes and sizes. Most reminiscent of Louis Sullivan is the arched entryway with "Sullivanesque" ornamental features. The roof of the Chauncey Williams House is very steeply pitched, a characteristic Wright would eliminate in his Prairie Style for a flat or low hipped roof. Additionally, the shingled roof features highly stylized dormer windows and overhanging roof eaves. Frank Lloyd Wright used roman brick for the chimney as well.

Winslow House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1894

Posted by George Pudlo on March 4, 2011 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (0)

William Winslow House

515 Auvergne Place

River Forest, IL 60305

The Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois is one of the most dramatically beautiful houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In pictures, the beauty is subtle, but in person you are just enthralled with its magnificence in design, form, and ornamentation. The Winslow House was built for William Herman Winslow and completed in 1894. Frank Lloyd Wright was acquainted with Winslow because of his business -the Winslow Brothers Iron Works, which created the metalwork for Daniel Burnham and John Root's Rookery Building, as well as Louis Sullivan's Carson Pirrie Scott Building. William Winslow lived in the Winslow House until his death in the 1930's.


The Winslow House by Frank Lloyd Wright was originally monochromatic -the base, plaster frieze, and roof were all of a similar color to the yellow Roman bricks that cover the base, and the limestone trim that surrounds the front door and and two central windows was also unpainted. Today, the Winslow House maintains the yellow color of the Roman bricks, the central limestone trim is painted white, the decorative plaster frieze is painted brown, and the roof is a lighter brown. The Winslow House was (is) extraordinary in design for the time that it was built. Some claim the Winslow House to be the first Prairie Style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright because of its design and massing that are similar to the Prairie Style houses Frank Lloyd Wright would design a decade later. It has a low hipped roof; broad central chimney, and severely overhanging roof eaves.


The Winslow House additionally bears a great resemblance to the James Charnley House completed in 1892 in Chicago, Illinois. Like the Charnley House, the Winslow House is a tripartite structure, attributed to Sullivan's idea of the tall office building, with a clearly defined base, shaft, and capital. The Charnely House is built with Roman brick -Wright's first experimentation with the flat plane surface without ornament, and the Winslow House similarly has a recessed central door and windows surrounded by limestone.


Louis Sullivan's influence on Frank Lloyd Wright is still strongly seen, with the house being completed just a year after Frank Lloyd Wright left the firm of Adler & Sullivan. The ornamental plaster frieze, the carved oak ornament in the door, and the ornament on the porte cochere are all Sullivanesque. At a distance, the ornament is not the overwhelming visual feature of the home -instead it is the overhanging roof eaves complimented by the division of solid and void spaces. The plaster frieze is recessed between the roof and the base, which with the overhanging eaves, makes the roof appear to float overtop the base of the home. This home could easily be identified as a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 20th century, but it would be nearly another decade before Frank Lloyd Wright's fully mature Prairie Style would evolve.


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