Estates and Gardens of Chicago’s North Shore - 14 July 2008

| Jul 14, 2008

Baird Jarman

Rather than slackening our pace, the fourth and final day consisted of the greatest number of buildings yet, quite a few of them being recently conserved or currently undergoing restoration. We began with Wright’s spacious Usonian house built in 1951 for Charles Glore. Here the main entrance brings visitors into a central corridor connecting perhaps the two most distinctive features of the house, its dramatic hanging staircase and the polygonal living room with a second floor balcony. Steps also lead gently downward to a wide expanse of patio.

Beside the entrance to the Charles Glore House (1951) by Frank Lloyd Wright

The 1929 James R. Leavell House, a medieval-revival manor designed by Anderson & Ticknor, features a balconied great hall with large exposed wooden beams adjoining a stone turret stairwell and a half-timbered inner courtyard. Additional plans for expanding the estate were abandoned after the Wall Street crash later that year.

The James R. Leavell House (1929) by Anderson & Ticknor

Beyond a winding path through woodland designed by Warren Manning, we next came upon the striking entrance to Wyldwood with its steeply pitched entrance gable of diamond-patterned brickwork above an imposing wrought-iron gateway decorated with signs of the zodiac by the medievalist metalworker Oscar Bach. Behind this imposing doorway lies an octagonal reception area floored in medieval-revival tiles. Appearing as a cottage from the front, the 1916 house by architect Harrie Lindeberg opens out onto lakefront property at the rear, where it takes on the character of a large Tudor manor house.

The entrance to Wyldwood (1916) by Harrie Lindeberg, metalwork by Oscar Bach

The rear facade of Wyldwood (1916) by Harrie Lindeberg

We lunched at Glen Rowan, the Barnes estate, designed by Shaw in 1908 and now owned by Lake Forest College. Built of red brick, the plan features a wide, barrel-vaulted, central hallway that segues at the rear of the house into a far less formal Arts & Crafts study with Mercer tiles incorporated into the fireplace surround.

The patio at Glen Rowan (1908) by Howard Van Doren Shaw

Returning to the lakefront again, we visited Bagatelle, home of the architect Edward Bennett. Born in England and trained at the Ècole des Beaux-Arts, Bennett designed this homage to eighteenth-century French classicism for his own family in 1916 after moving to Chicago. His International Style studio, built behind the house in 1930, demonstrates his newfound interest in modernism.

Bagatelle (1916) by Edward Bennett

After returning to Lake Forest College for a quick peek at the Romanesque-revival Durand Institute by architect Henry Ives Cobb in 1892, we proceeded to the Lawrence Williams House, designed by Walter Frazier in 1928 as a compact cottage with a steeply pitched gable and surrounded by garden landscaping by Thomas W. Seyster.

The Durand Institute at Lake Forest College (1892) by Henry Ives Cobb

The Lawrence Williams House (1928) by Walter Frazier
We then proceeded to the astonishing array of gardens at the restored John T. Pirie estate, anchored by a brick house designed in 1904 by Marshall & Fox that is surrounded by landscapes created by Rose Standish Nichols.
The John T. Pirie Estate (1904) by Marshall & Fox

One of the garden axes at the John T. Pirie Estate

Our tour concluded with a festive dinner at the 1928 Deerpath Inn, modeled on the mid-fifteenth century Manor House of Chiddingstone.

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