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Morning again November 5, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in History, Politics.
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Today, I awoke to a new dawn in America.

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Some days just suck. October 13, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in History.
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Some days just suck.

Even a misanthropic absurdist knows that.

A day that sucked? The day I realized that the nation of France experienced the national tragedy that was World War I and its awful toll; shit, tragedy? National torture more like. The national torture of nearly 5.7 million total casualties during World War I. That’s 4.3 million wounded and almost 1.4 million killed in action, dead, forever. What a sad world we live in.

So what? My source was Wikipedia, wanna fight? It’s cited.

Moby lyrics July 23, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Miscellaneous.
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This song has been on repeat in my brain and on my itunes. It’s “In my heart” by Moby, off “18”. Appropriate, if you know anything about me.

Lord I want
To be up
In my heart

Be
Ohh
Just in my heart, oh Lord
Just in my heart, oh Lord

Still around redux May 30, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in BlogNotes.
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Seems like I am always posting these “I am still about” announcements, but I am. I come and go, which is horrible for readers, but more manageable for me. After all, I never intended to be some A-list bigshot, I just like stuff, and like to write about it. To sate those architecture and history nuts out there, yes, there will be more on those topics. I have continued my treks around Illinois with the slow break of spring, including trips to Jo Daviess and LaSalle Counties. I have a ton of photos and a lot of research compiled about those places, so that will appear eventually. I have worked on and off on niuneedsanswers.com, look for a shift to be more encompassing in that blog soon. Until I get in a writing mood, adieu, I should have some time for some posts soon.

A new website February 23, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in BlogNotes, Crime, DeKalb.
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I haven’t made any architecture posts of late because I have been busy working and doing other things. Also, I haven’t been able to locate the photos I need but I have to point out a new website that everyone must visit. It’s niuneedsanswers.com, a project I am, admittedly, involved in. Citizen journalists from around the DeKalb-NIU community will attempt to filter through reams of information and search for some answers. Check it out if you get a chance.

Architecture posts will resume on Monday.

U.S. Route 66: Chenoa, Illinois February 20, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, History, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.
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After spending so much time near Chicago I thought it would be nice to return to the downstate calm of Old U.S. Route 66. Just north of the city of Chenoa, Illinois, the historic section of U.S. Route 66 that is listed on the National Register Historic Places ends, but the road continues southward, toward Bloomington. Coming from Pontiac, we first hit Chenoa, in northern McLean County.


Chenoa, Illinois, in northern McLean County

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2-19-08: Westboro Baptist Church a no show in DeKalb February 19, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Crime, DeKalb.
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The Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps’ evil minions, did not show and the group removed the picket notice from their website, but a couple hundred Huskie faithful did show. We braved the cold while the Lutheran Campus Ministry prepared for its candlelight vigil. No cowards were present, only the strong, only Huskies. THIS IS HUSKIE COUNTRY, AND WE ARE NIU! Photos follow.

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2-15-08: NIU the morning after February 19, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Crime, DeKalb.
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I promised some photos. And a few words, so you know what you are looking at. Architecture posts will resume tomorrow, cutting short our Oak Park tour for now. I have many more to write. For now, I went to the February 15, 2008, 9 am press conference in Altgeld Hall regarding the shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University one day before. It was during this conference that the university released the name of the killer.

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Heurtley House: Oak Park, Illinois Part 7 February 17, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Houses, National Historic Landmarks, Prairie style.
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The Arthur Heurtley House is a true architectural gems, besides being one of my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, it is a distinguished early example of Wright’s mastery of his new Prairie style. The Heurtley House is one of four National Historic Landmarks in Oak Park, Illinois – the others are Pleasant Home, Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, and Unity Temple.

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The 1902 Heurtley House is acknowledged as a critically important work of early modern architecture; one that the National Historic Landmark Program claims is the first fully mature example of Prairie School architecture. As we have seen, many sources dispute this claim, instead crediting the Frank W. Thomas House from one year earlier as the first full Prairie house.

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The emphasis on the Heurtley House is decidedly horizontal, its asymmetical front facade, hipped roof, massive chimney and horizontal character do provide a good comparison point for all things Prairie. Something I am sure could also be done with the Thomas House.

Before February 16, 2000, the Heurtley House was simply a member of the National Register of Historic Places listing for the Frank Lloyd Wright-Prairie School of Architecture Historic District. On that date, the home was declared a National Historic Landmark (NHL) because of its architectural importance. An NHL declaration garners an automatic listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), thus the Heurtley House was individually listed on the NRHP at the same time.

There is more to say about the Heurtley House than you and I have time for here, but if this perks your interest in a house I adore, I suggest checking out the resources below, especially the NHL nomination form and the Illinois Historic Preservation Association (IHPA) Property Information Report.

Online Resources
*Arthur Heurtley House: National Historic Landmark Nomination Form, NHL Summary, IHPA Property Information Report (Photos from 1982-1998 included at bottom)
*Wikipedia: Arthur Heurtley House (by me, for you)

Frank W. Thomas House: Oak Park, Illinois Part 6 February 16, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Houses, National Register of Historic Places, Prairie style.
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There are two houses in Oak Park which have, at different times, been called the “first fully mature” example of a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie style house. The first of those homes is the Frank W. Thomas House at 210 Forest Avenue; most sources agree that the Thomas House was the first example.

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1901 – Frank W. Thomas House

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The Prairie aesthetic February 15, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Prairie style.
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If you keep seeing me banter about Frank Lloyd Wright, casually referring to Prairie style, and are left wondering what the heck I am talking about, well, then, you’re probably not alone. Today we take a short break from immersion in the architectural classroom that is Oak Park, Illinois and try to discover a little bit about Prairie style. Where it comes from, what it means, what it looks like, and the tools to locate the Prairie influences in your own neighborhood. Join me, I will try not to ramble.

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Shooting in DeKalb February 14, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Crime, DeKalb.
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There has been a shooting at DeKalb’s (where I live) Northern Illinois University (where I went to school). Details are sketchy but more than a dozen have been shot, some may be dead. My sympathies are with everyone affected. How horrible.

UPDATE: Six people, seven including the gunman, were killed in cold blood. Looks like five were killed and 16 injured. What a terrible day.

Walter Gale House: Oak Park, Illinois Part 5 February 14, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.
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The Walter Gale House, in Oak Park, Illinois, was constructed around the time of yesterday’s Bootleg Houses and closely resembles their design. Again, Wright went with a geometric Queen Anne style that, while not unlike traditional styles popular during the 1890s, represented a precursor to the direction he would take a few years later.


1893- Walter Gale House

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Bootleg Houses: Oak Park, Illinois Part 4 February 13, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.
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Between 1892 and 1893 Frank Lloyd Wright designed a series of eight houses, many of them similar in style, in and around Oak Park, Illinois. The popular tale says that Wright, then under contract with Louis Sullivan, was forbidden, by his contract, to “moonlight” and do independent designs. That tale is contradicted in Thomas Heinz’s 2006 book, “The Vision of Frank Lloyd Wright”. Heinz says that Wright was not forbidden to do independent work, and that Sullivan would have encouraged it because Wright owed him money. Heinz says Wright left Adler and Sullivan on his own terms, amidst an economic downturn.

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Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio: Oak Park, Illinois Part 3 February 12, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Houses, National Historic Landmarks.
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Making our way from Unity Temple we come to a neighborhood off Chicago Avenue that is dominated by architectural marvels. Sprinkled throughout a smattering of Queen Anne and Italianate homes are several of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie masterpieces. Before you get to those, though, you notice a sprawling Shingle Style house (Shingle style is basically a classification of Queen Anne style) that appears to have been built at different times. The large brown house is known as the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and it was the location of his early 20th century Oak Park firm.


1889 – Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

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Unity Temple: Oak Park, Illinois Part 2 February 11, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Churches, Frank Lloyd Wright, National Historic Landmarks.
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Not far from the Pleasant Home is Unity Temple, another Oak Park National Historic Landmark that many consider one of the crowning achievements of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Unity Temple is the result of years of experimentation in Oak Park with various designs, from geometric Queen Anne style homes, to the first fully mature examples of Prairie style architecture. The Unity Temple is an impressive example of early modernism in architecture.


1905-1907 Unity Temple (Frank Lloyd Wright)

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Pleasant Home: Oak Park, Illinois February 10, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Historic Landmarks, Prairie style.
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The last few days have been a breather, stopping here in DeKalb County. A short drive toward Chicago, though, and we are in, perhaps the most architecturally significant village in the United States, Oak Park, Illinois. Oak Park is home to dozens of residential works by Frank Lloyd Wright, and other Prairie Style masters. But before we dive knee deep into Wright we must stop over and see an architect we talked about the other day, George W. Maher.


1897 – John C. Farson House (aka Pleasant Home) (rear view)
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Ashelford Hall: Esmond, Illinois February 9, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, History, National Register of Historic Places.
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There are more than 90,000 listings on the National Register of Historic Places. Not all of them are well-kept, I have come across a fair share of dilapidated properties, one of them here in DeKalb County. While far from falling down, Ashelford Hall in the small village of Esmond, Illinois is, to put it lightly, in a state of disrepair.


1925 – Ashelford Hall

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Prairie style architecture: DeKalb, Illinois Part 2 February 8, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Prairie style.
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I have already discussed DeKalb, Illinois’ most obvious example of Prairie style architecture, the oft-mistaken for a Frank Lloyd Wright work A.O. Anderson House. While prominent it isn’t the only example of the style in the city. In fact, there are other examples of the style by architects much more well-known than John S. Van Bergen. Augusta Avenue is a good place to start, within a block of the Anderson House are two examples of architecture by a key Prairie architect.


1908 – Dr. F.N. Rowan House

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Adolphus W. Brower House: Sycamore, Illinois Part 6 February 7, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.
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Weary from our journey we return to Sycamore suffering from a case of Republican-icon-overload. Breathe, sigh, we’re back and will be soothed. Soothed by picture perfect Italianate style. At 705 DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore is a high-style example of Italianate in the Adolphus W. Brower House.


1874 – Adolphus W. Brower House

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