Pleasant Home: Oak Park, Illinois February 10, 2008Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Historic Landmarks, Prairie style.
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)
At the intersection of Pleasant Street and Home Avenue in Oak Park stands the John C. Farson House. The Farson House is a key example of early Prairie style, designed by Maher in 1897 during a time period when Wright was still maturing and experimenting in Oak Park, the Farson House gives us a glimpse at the direction early modern architecture was about to take.
Pleasant Home is built from a buff colored Roman brick
The Farson House’s location, at Pleasant and Home, has given it a more common name, Pleasant Home. The three story Roman brick house displays features characteristic of Maher’s Prairie work, the low pitched hip roof, the large entry porch, ample setback from the street, all of these connect Maher’s work with his contemporaries such as Wright.
Maher’s decoration is lavish both interior and exterior
Maher had his own design philosophy and it took in the house as a whole, including its interior and furnishings. His philosophy, dubbed motif rhythm theory, sought to integrate the decorative elements of the building with the interior furnishings. Nearly all of the elaborate interior decoration is preserved today.
An interior shot, note the stained glass in the background
The house is in fine shape, subject of a 1960s renovation and restoration project, as are the grounds. In fact the grounds appear much as they did when Maher designed the house. The original iron fence, designed by Maher, still graces the property.
A Maher designed fence surrounds Pleasant Home
Pleasant Home is operated by the Pleasant Home Foundation and is part of the 7 acre Herbert Mills Park in Oak Park. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the house was declared a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1996 because of its importance as a key example of early Prairie style architecture.
*John C. Farson House: Official site
*John C. Farson House: National Historic Landmark listing summary, National Historic Landmark Nomination Form; Illinois Historic Sites Survey Inventory Form (p. 1-17)/Oak Park Landmark Nomination Form (p. 18-33)
*Wikipedia: Pleasant Home, George W. Maher