"Fortress-like Masterpiece: Glessner House, Chicago" Top 5 Page for this destination United States of America Favorite Tip by deecat
United States of America Favorites: 466 reviews and 430 photos
Favorite thing: Chicago, Illinois, is known around the world for its skycrapers; however, some of Chicago's finest architectural "gems" are not tall at all.
Acclaimed architect, Henry Hobson Richardson's Glessner House is one of my favorites. It's been recently restored, and it is one of the few private residences that Richardson designed that still survives. He built the house for John Glessner who was an executive for, what later became known as International Harvester.
This is a very unusual design, & many people do not car for it. Created in a U-shaped plan, it encloses a secluded interior courtyard. Surprisingly, the house is much bigger than it looks on the outside.
Most people who visit the house are as surprised as I was by how different Glessner House is from the surrounding Second Empire & Queen Anne-style homes This home lacks any "gingerbread" features. It has massive granite walls that front the street without a porch. Richardson himself gave specific directions as to how he wanted the rough-faced stones laid. I love the round arch over the entry & was fascinated by the fanlight that was carved into the solid masonry. If you look closely at the photo, you will see the central set of windows above the main door & the colonnettes.
The brick-faced courtyard facade is so different from the solid stone exterior of the house. It has a varied shapes & sizes of windows; thus plenty of light filters into the living areas.
The interiors at Glessner House are very gracious & include an oak paneled entrance hall with a beamed ceiling & an elegant fireplace.
There are lots of patterned wallpapers, handwoven carpets, & floral textiles.
The library has a double desk for a couple, & I was told that it has remained in this room for more than a century!
Fondest memory: The house really serves as a museum and exposes the visitors to such designers as William Morris and Isaac Elwood Scott
It's truly a "feast for the eyes"!
1800 South Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
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