I love the announcer's distinctive voice on the train. "Next Stop: Elmhurst", or "Next Stop: Glen Ellyn". It has the perfect pauses and articulation. So in my mind, whenever I imagine or plan the next trip, that familiar voice enters. "Next Stop, Oak Park". There are so many things I have been planning to do in Oak Park that I knew I needed full days to cover them. Yes, days plural.
Oak Park is famous for and proud of their Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, so the logical first day in Oak Park was spent touring Wright's beautiful first home and studio. The tour lasted about 60 minutes and was full of facts and feasts for the eyes.
Wright was born and raised in Wisconsin growing up to appreciate nature. His style of architecture was intended to be one continuous flow of beauty. He thought architecture shouldn't be starkly contrasted, but continue the colors and form found in nature's beauty. While working in Chicago he decided to build his first home out in the prairie of Oak Park. It was close enough to work in the city for an architecture firm after the Chicago Fire, and also far enough out to remind him of his childhood home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
As you can see, the trend of quotes and motivational word walls is not a new one. Wright had this above his fireplace as a reminder to his family and friends. I think these words should be a requirement in all homes and buildings. "Good Friend, around these hearthstones speak no evil word about any creature." (But a gentle reminder that the truth is OK...haha )
The simplicity of his home is a contradiction because he was so focused on detail. The details were to cause simplicity. Nothing was left to chance. There was a reason for everything he did.
And for such a busy man, he seemed to put a lot of importance on his children. This room was their play room. It was complete with toys and a piano and a balcony for the parents to watch them play. (Notice the positioning of the piano. Fits nicely in the corner, huh?)
This is the back stairway housing the rest of it! (haha...something I would do. "We can make this fit! Just watch me.")
I also love the toys he encouraged his children to play with. Hands-on geometric shapes. Not the worksheets commonly used in school today. (If you are a teacher using manipulatives and physical objects, kudos to you.) Wright and his wife were very interested in Friedrich Frobel's Kindergarten methods. Frank was raised with this same philosophy encouraged by his own mother.
Isn't it amazing that play leads to this...
I think I am going to go outside and play.
The tour moves along quickly, and is never dull. If you enjoy this cooler autumn weather and would like to see great American architecture, make a plan to head to...cue the announcer... Oak Park. There is just too much to share with you in one post, so stay tuned for more tours in the near future and, of course, suggestions for food from this fascinating suburb.
Filed under: Metra