This late-February heat wave often has the effect of making you want too head out and explore Chicago’s and its surroundings’ magnificent architecture. A good day out can involve  locating significant buildings in Oak Park that were not designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Clearly, the Prairie School’s forefather had a significant impact on Chicago’s western neighbor. His house and workshop are in Oak Park, and he created several additional structures in the area. In terms of Oak Park architecture, it’s just not right that Wright that can draw attention.


The Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum is more of a literary attraction than an architectural one, yet it should be included in any discussion of Oak Park architecture. The huge Victorian home was erected in 1890 for Hemingway’s grandparents, and he was born there in 1899. The great author only lived in Oak Park for a short years and apparently disliked it.
Despite this, it may be surprising to know  that the house had been abandoned for decades. In 1992, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park salvaged the property. They spent nine years remodeling the house to the condition it was in when Hemingway lived there. As such, it is an excellent example of Victorian architecture both inside and out.


This is an exceptionally early Prairie School example, however it was not built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Pleasant Home was designed by his former coworker George Washington Maher. Like Wright’s residences and structures in Oak Park, Maher’s design emphasizes horizontal lines and minimal adornment. It stands in sharp contrast to the Hemingway Birthplace’s massive and opulent Victorian architecture.

Pleasant Home was constructed in 1897, four years before Wright’s first Prairie School houses. Throughout the 1890s, both architects were moving toward that new architectural style.


Scoville Square is a unique example of a commercial structure designed in the Prairie School style. The four story structure, located in the middle of Oak Park’s downtown, was built in 1909. Its style, like that of the adjacent Pleasant Home, emphasizes horizontal lines in tribute to the Illinois countryside. The glass and metal awning over the main entrance is a beatiful aspect of the structure. This lends a nice touch to the otherwise modest exterior.

Originally, the structure housed a Masonic Temple, as well as stores and offices. Gilmore’s Department Store inhabited the building for forty years after the Masons left. The building is now divided into smaller stores, offices, and restaurants. A good way to conclude your walk is ending up at   propose concluding your stroll at Winberie’s on the corner of Scoville Square. After a few hours of sightseeing, they will serve you some welcoming classic American food.

Any architectural tour in Oak Park is likely to include a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright. Without a doubt, his work in the village is critical. However, a visit to these alternative locations will provide you with a better understanding of the architecture that Wright rebelled against, borrowed from, and shaped his idead during the peak of his career.

Notable architecture beyond Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park