Culture in the 312: In the steps of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway

    As the weather finally warms up, it’s worth taking a break from the Northwestern campus and Evanston in favor of a trip to Oak Park. This west suburb of Chicago shelters some great architectural houses. You’ll be able to venture into the childhood years of Ernest Hemingway by visiting the author’s birthplace home. The house hints at why he became an itchy foreign reporter and novelist.

    At the same time, Oak Park had been the experimentation ground of the young and ambitious architect Frank Lloyd Wright. With his sidekick and mentor Louis Sullivan, they designed the houses which would be further known as the ”Prairie Houses” and epitomize his conception of organic architecture. Oak Park has no reason to be jealous of Fallingwater, Lloyd Wright’s most famous architectural project in Pennsylvania.

    To visit the Ernest Hemingway museum and birthplace home, it will cost you $8 with your Wildcard. As for the Frank Lloyd Wright house and district area, you can choose several options: either a guided tour of the house and Prairie school of architecture district area for $25 or a self-guided audio tour of the area for $15. I’ll recommend picking the second one as it’s less expensive and it offers a general background which will not blitz you with tons of details, unless you’re a Lloyd Wright convert.

    To get there, you could take either the Metra until the ”Oak Park” stop (1H20) or the Green Line from downtown until the ”Oak Park” stop (1H40).

    For a glimpse of Oak Park, see the slideshow below.


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