Chicago is well known for its architecture, especially the neck craning skyscrapers. Although not known for large buildings, one of the most famous Chicago-based architects is Frank Lloyd Wright. Popular for his Prairie Style homes, many of Wright’s structures can be seen scattered around the Midwest, with the highest concentration in Oak Park, Illinois.
We decided to check out a few of these homes and signed up for a walking tour through Chicago Savvy Tours. A great feature of this tour is that transportation is provided. You are picked up at a central location downtown, and shuttled to the suburb of Oak Park while listening to interviews of Wright. Starting at the Unity Temple, we were able to sit inside and learn a bit about how Wright got his start and was inspired by space and light. Then we moved on along the sidewalks, stopping every now and then in front of a home to take pictures and learn about the history of its creation. We were able to pick up on the themes that Wright would implement in most of his homes, and soon it became quite easy to spot his work. We finished off the three hour tour (Did you just start singing the theme to Gilligan’s Island?) at his home & studio/gift shop, and proceeded to board the van back to the city.
Perhaps even more fascinating than his designs is his personal life. Riddled with scandal and tragedy, Wright’s 91 years inspired numerous headlines and even novels, including Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Our informative tour guide lent some insight into Wright’s dark past, and I would recommend anyone interested in learning about the man behind the buildings take a guided tour versus a casual stroll on your own. And once syou’ve become to understand Wright’s work, you will be able to pick it out everywhere, including places you have walked by for ages and never realized!
Several tour locations are offered. To make reservations or purchase tickets, click here.