Chicago Reprise

Having not actually disembarked in Chicago last year, we had unfinished business.

So in May this year we took a few days out from a visit to the family in Virginia to see all the things we had meant to see the first time around.

I had read Nancy Horan’s book Loving Frank, the story of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ill-fated affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, and I wanted to see Oak Park where they both lived and where FLW designed and built many houses. The Unity Temple, the commission which established his reputation, is also in Oak Park.

So we stayed in Tom and Grace’s B&B in Oak Park itself and immersed ourselves in all things Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Tom and Grace’s B&B in Oak Park

The Unity Temple was commissioned in 1905 after the Unity Church burned down. The Minister, Rodney Johonnot, wanted a building which would reflect the values of  unity, truth, beauty, simplicity, freedom and reason. Frank Lloyd Wright had spent some time in Japan, and his work shows the influence of Japanese architecture and style.

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The following day we took the ‘L’ from Oak Park into Chicago downtown.

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Back street, Oak Park

 

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And got off at Quincy St

_MG_0053 (2)Quincey St L Station

Quincy St ‘L’ station

_MG_0054 (2)S Financial Place

S. Financial Place

_MG_0056 (2)Atrium, The Rookery

The Atrium of the Rookery, designed by FLW

_MG_0058 (2)Atrium, the Rookery

Roof of the Rookery Atrium

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Lobby of the Chicago Board of Trade Building

_MG_0061 (2)Chicago Board of Trade Building

Close-up in the lobby

_MG_0064 (2)S. Michigan Avenue

S Michigan Avenue

_MG_0062 (2)Chicago Institute of Art

Chicago Institute of Art, S Michigan Avenue

_MG_0066 (2)S. Michigan Avenue

S Michigan Avenue, looking south

_MG_0069 (2)Looking north across millennium Park

Looking north across Millennium Park

_MG_0073 (2)Henry Moore in Millennium Park

Henry Moore in Millennium Park

_MG_0074 (2)Millennium Park

Millennium Park

_MG_0075 (2)Millennium Park

Millennium Park

_MG_0082 (2)Cloudgate

Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor

DSCN1623 (2)Cloudscape

Doing the tourist thing, reflected in Cloud Gate

_MG_0079 (2)Cloudgate

Inside Cloud Gate

_MG_0081 (2)Cloudgate

_MG_0085 (2)Modern American Decorative Arts, Chicago Institute of Art

Modern Decorative Arts at the Chicago Institute of Art

The next day we went out in the cold and rain to see as many of the FLW houses in Oak Park as we could.

_MG_0086 (2)William E Martin house, 636 N East Avenue, Oak Park

William E. Martin House, 636 N East Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois

_MG_0087 (2)Edwin H Cheney House,520 N East Avenue

Edwin H. Cheney House, 520 N East Avenue

_MG_0090 (2)Nathan G Moore House, 333N Forest Avenue

Nathan G. Moore House, 333 N East Avenue

_MG_0091 (2)A front garden, Oak Park

Someone’s front garden in Oak Park

IMG_3572 (2)Frank Lloyd Wright studio and home

Outside FLW Home & Studio

IMG_3574 (2)Frank Lloyd Wright studio and home

FLW Home & Studio

IMG_3575 (2)Arthur Huertly House, 318 N Forest Ave

Arthur Huertly House, 318 N Forest Drive

IMG_3576 (2)Peter A Beachy House,238 N forest Drive

Peter A. Beachy House, 238 N Forest Drive

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Frank W Thomas House, 210 N Forest Drive

By lunch time I was colder and wetter than I had been at any time since my youth hostelling days, and had to be revived with blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon at George’s Family Restaurant on S Oak Park Drive.

The following day we took the L and then a bus to get to Hyde Park, home to the Obamas, and the University of Chicago. It’s also the location of the Robie House, considered the epitome of FLW’s Prairie style. Unfortunately it was raining heavily by this time,  so rather difficult to capture an image.

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The Robie House in the rain

_MG_0095 (2)Robie House, Hyde Park

Windows in the Robie House

FLW adopted a rather dictatorial attitude towards his clients. Furnishings had to comply with his prairie palette of colours, and his clients had to have furniture not only designed by him, but placed in specific locations in the rooms. Unfortunately for them, he was more interested in style than comfort.

_MG_0096 (2)Robie House

Chairs in the Robie House

DSCN1657 (2)showewr in the Robie House

The shower in the Robie house. Water spurted out at several levels.

The cold, damp and misty weather meant that several things that we wanted to do, such as having a drink in the Skydeck on the Willis Tower, and hiring bikes to ride up the Lakeshore Trail, had to be abandoned, and indoor pursuits sought instead.

We took the L back towards Oak Park and stopped off at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Garfield Park neighbourhood is apparently notorious, but the Conservatory is stunning.

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Garfield Park Conservatory

 

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IMG_3582 (2)Garfield Conservatory

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4 thoughts on “Chicago Reprise

  1. Hi Jane, really enjoyed this post and look forward to reading the rest (I’m late to the party). I watched a documentary on F.L.W. recently and your descriptions and photographs have only added to my interest.Perhaps it was his Welsh genes or the Classic British buildings that his mother used to decorate his room that contributed to his genius.

    • Thanks Alun 🙂 We loved Chicago & Oak Park. FLW was an amazing character – to have such courage of his convictions and stay true to his philosophy and principles even when things were tough and he wasn’t getting many commissions.

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