What I Saw: Frank Lloyd Wright in River Forest, IL

To read the first part of my Frank Lloyd Wright summer adventure, click here.

Shortly after checking off all the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings from my list of buildings to see in Oak Park, I hopped on the “El” and met The Urbanologist in Lincoln Park, Chicago where we toured the campus of DePaul University. Of course, knowing how much I appreciate Brutalist architecture, Max Grinnell made certain I see at least one brutalist building while on our walk. Our first stop was the Arthur J. Schmitt Academic Center by C. F. Murphy Associates—a beautiful concrete building built in 1968 in the smack middle of DePaul’s campus. 

DePaul University Academic Center

DePaul University

We briefly stopped to marvel at 838 W. Webster Ave, a terrific house designed in 2005 by DeStefano & Partners. 

De Stefano Architects

Another highlight included Adler and Sullivan’s Kaufmann Store and Flats (1883-87).


Kaufmann Store Door

I went back to Oak Park the following day and rather than walk to River Forest which I would have done, I opted to take a cab. It was all worth it since there is much more walking involved to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings at River Forest than at Oak Park. Aside from the small collection of Wright buildings which include the famous William Winslow House from 1893, River Forest is a great place to see other Prairie Style houses nestled amongst the ornate Victorian homes in this village just two miles west of Oak Park.

Built in 1893, the Winslow House is considered one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most important commissions. The house was the architect’s first independent commission after leaving the office of Adler and Sullivan and Wright himself referred to it as “the first ‘prairie house’.” The Winslow House expresses Frank Lloyd Wright’s mature Prairie Style vocabulary—a dramatic horizontality, bold massing and simplicity in design. In the 1970 National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Winslow House, the nominating authors boldly stated that the house “should be preserved at all costs.” I’m so glad it’s still standing today, for it is truly a masterpiece worth seeing in person.

William H. Winslow, 1893

William H. Winslow, 1893, River Forest

Chauncey Williams House, 1895

Chauncey Williams House, 1895, River Forest

E. Arthur Davenport House, 1901

E. Arthur Davenport House, 1901, River Forest (1)

E. Arthur Davenport House, 1901, River Forest (2)

Waller Gates, 1901

Waller Gates, 1901, River Forest

River Forest Tennis Club, 1906

River Forest Tennis Club, 1906

Isabel Roberts House, 1908

J. Kibben Ingalls House, 1909


J. Kibben Ingalls House, 1909, River Forest (1)

Again, for more detailed information on these houses by Frank Lloyd Wright, please consult William Allin Storrer’s The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog. Stay tuned for my final recap of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in Buffalo, NY.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I’m living with Isabel Roberts when Mrs. Thomas Gale kicks me out.

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