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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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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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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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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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J.H. Rogers, Four Square and the Bettis House: Sycamore, Illinois Part 4 January 28, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Register of Historic Places, Prairie style.
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Next door to yesterday’s David Syme House is the J.H. Rogers House, a peculiar blend of Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles. It has the obvious turret of a Queen Anne home while also having prominent Romanesque arches. The home was built in 1890 for Rogers, a respected dry goods merchant who settled in Sycamore in 1858.


1890 J.H. Rogers House

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Librarians and houses: Polo, Illinois January 22, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Register of Historic Places, Prairie style.
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Polo, Illinois is a small city of about 2,500 in Ogle County, a county whose largest settlement has less than 10,000 people. The rural communities in Ogle County are astounding and filled with history, art and architecture, if you know where to look. Armed with a list of sites in Polo from the National Register of Historic Places, I started looking at the Polo Public Library – a building that is one of five in Polo that share that status.


Buffalo Township Public Library (aka Polo Public Library)

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A.O. Anderson House: DeKalb, Illinois January 21, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, Prairie style.
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DeKalb has several prominent historic homes but the Anderson House may be one of the least known. The Anderson House is part of a local historic district but doesn’t have federal recognition on the National Register yet, I am hoping to alleviate this. The house is commonly mistaken for a Frank Lloyd Wright work, but it’s not.

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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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