5 Places to Visit in Oak Park, IL
5 Places to Visit in Oak Park, IL
(And the books you should read before visiting)
To conclude my week of posts about Oak Park, IL - I'm listing five places to visit (besides Ernest Hemingway's Birthplace and Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio, which I already posted about.) I love Chicago, but sometimes it is nice to get out of town and explore the nearby areas. I think I might take a weekend getaway to Oak Park to check off the rest of these places on my list:
The Book - Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple: A Good Time Place
The Place - Unity Temple
While we were touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, they told us about the newly renovated Unity Temple. In 2015 it closed to undergo a $25 million dollar comprehensive restoration. It was designed in 1905 for Wright's own congregation.
The Book - Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway's Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises
The Place - Ernest Hemingway Museum
When driving to Hemingway's Birthplace, we passed by the Hemingway Museum, which their website describes as, "host to permanent and temporary exhibits that explore the author's life. Kiosks fashioned from historic doors hold exhibits of rare photos and artifacts, including Hemingway's childhood diary and the famous letter from nurse Agnes von Kurowsky-later portrayed in A Farewell to Arms-terminating their engagement. Special exhibits highlight Hemingway's love of nature and the arts, along with his involvement in both World Wars and the movies. Other exhibits include The Eye of the Writer, Picturing Hemingway, and Hemingway and the Arts." But by the time we were through with the tour of Hemingway's birthplace, we were a bit "toured out."
The Book - Frederick Law Olmsted: Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society
The Place - Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside
In Chicago, Frederick Law Olmsted is a landscape architect known for designing Central Park in New York City and the landscape of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. He spoken about quite a bit in Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (read my review of this book, here.) But you may not know that he and his partner, Calvert Vaux, were commissioned to design Riverside, IL, a suburban village about 12 miles west of Chicago. I didn't even know this was possible, but Riverside is designated as a National Historic Landscape District. So if you're a fan of Central Park, and you're in the Chicago area, I think Riverside would be a great place to check out.
The Book - Prairie Metropolis: Chicago and the Birth of a New American Home
The Place - Pleasant Home
The Pleasant Home website proclaims it to be, "one of the earliest and most distinguished examples of Prairie School Architecture in the nation..." It was designed in 1897 by George W. Maher (I bet you thought I was going to say Frank Lloyd Wright...it wasn't designed by Wright but both architects worked together at Joseph L. Silsbee's architectural office and were notable designers in the Prairie School style.) Pleasant Home was built for John W. Farson, an investment banker, and his wife Mamie Ashworth Farson.
The Place - Historic Neighborhood Walking Tour
Okay, I cheated. I couldn't choose just 5 places to visit in Oak Park, so I compiled a bunch of Frank Lloyd Wright's homes into one (many of which you can see on this walking tour conducted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Curbed Chicago also had a great do-it-yourself tour if you're tired of listening to someone talk or you're looking for a free option.) Since I cheated on this last one, I chose a book that is short and sweet (about 130 pages) which gives a general overview of Oak Park.