Oak Park - Frank Lloyd Wright Walking/Driving Tour

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday, July 16th

We drove to Oak Park,with the intention of touring Frank Lloyd Wright's (aka Frankie's) House and Studio.  Getting to Oak Park was pretty easy and we were able to park about a block away from Frankie's house.  When I got out of the car I was immediately drawn to the house we parked in front of.  It had a circular tower on the front corner clad in horizontal wood planking.  Then there was a two-story dormer window with nice wood inlay.  And to the right was a intriguing entry sequence up a narrowing stair to the door on the side, under a cool curving sloped roof.  I told Jen it was cool, took a picture and we were on our way. 

We got to Frankie's House/Studio only to find all the tours for today are booked full.  There was a tour of the studio or a walking tour of the Oak Park, and both were full

However, apparently Frankie was very busy in his neighborhood of Oak Park and designed quite a few of these homes.  So we purchased a map that denoted these houses and we were on our way on a tour of our own.  Really most of the houses you didn't need a map.  For the most part, you could tell which houses were Frankie's designs.   Whether it be the detailing in the window panes, or the overall style, they often were easily identifiable.  The only thing that occasionally made it difficult was that there were some houses that were obviously imitating Frankie.  
It was interesting to note on the Moore Dugal residence he did the original design in 1895, his first independent work.  Then there was a fire and he did the design for the re-construction in 1925.  What was interesting, was the difference in design.  You can see he was much bolder in the newer design.  We took a picture of the plaque that shows both designs, hopefully you can tell what I am talking about.  If not, take my word for it. 

So continuing on, we walked around the Oak Park neighborhood and checked out all the buildings, and enjoyed the nice day.  The neighborhood was really nice, with yards and a lot of nice and big houses to look at. 

On another note, it was great to see the diverse designs Frankie created throughout all the houses we saw.  Even though you often could tell his designs, each was completely unique.  But you can decide for yourself while looking at the pictures.

So as we neared the end of the walking portion of our tour, which house did we end on but the one I was drawn towards from the get go. Who knew it was a Frankie design.  Good Job on that one Frank! 

So after seeing the houses within walking distance, we hopped in the car to check out the rest.  We saw a few houses by other architects noted on the map as well as Frankie's Unity Church and more residences. 

While we weren't able to get to see the inside of his house/studio, it was an unexpected and rather pleasant surprise to get to see so many of his designs in person. If we have time we will do the studio tour another day, and if not we will definitely be coming back to Chicago.

After finishing up here we decided to stop by the Woodfield Mall on our way back to the campground.
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