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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)

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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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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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Frank L. Smith Bank: Dwight, Illinois Part 2 January 16, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie style.
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Frank Lloyd Wright designed his many buildings mostly in the United States, and they were mostly residential in nature. However, he left his mark on other types of buildings as well, arguably his most famous work is the Guggenheim Museum in New York, a decidedly non-residential building.

In the Livingston County, Illinois village of Dwight, is a little known example of Wright’s mastery, tucked into a storefront setting in the tiny village’s downtown business district, the 1905 Frank L. Smith (aka First National) Bank.


1905 Frank L. Smith Bank

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Pettit Chapel: Belvidere, Illinois January 12, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, National Register of Historic Places, Prairie style.
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Okay, enough of the politics nonsense. On, to hidden wonders, and not so hidden wonders, right in my own back yard.

Below is an image of the Pettit Memorial Chapel in Belvidere, Illinois. Belvidere is the county seat of Boone County. The chapel was designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a memorial for Dr. William Pettit. You can learn about the history and architecture of the structure in the chapel’s Wikipedia entry, which I wrote.


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