Where: Glessner House Museum, 1800 South Prairie Avenue
When: Wednesdays: Admission is free. 11:30AM, 1:00PM and 2:30PM. Tours are 75 minutes. Self-guided tours are not available. Guided tours are limited to 15 people per tour on a first-come, first-served, walk-in basis. Advance reservations are not accepted.
All tours begin at theVisitor’s Center located inside the main Prairie Avenue entrance. Groups of eight or more are not eligible for a free tour.
About Glessner House
A National Historic Landmark, Glessner House was designed by noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1887.
A radical departure from traditional Victorian architecture, the structure served as an inspiration to the young Frank Lloyd Wright and helped redefine domestic architecture.
Preserving an Architectural Treasure
- On December 1, 1924, the Glessners and the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects sign a deed of gift that would give the house to the CCAIA upon the Glessners’ deaths, provided that it be used “solely for the purposes of architecture and the allied arts and sciences”
- Mrs. Glessner died in 1932, Mr. Glessner in 1936.
- The high costs of repairs in Depression-era Chicago led the CCAIA to return the house to the Glessners’ family in 1937.
- The heirs deeded the house to the Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology), and in 1946, Lithographic Technical Foundation leased the house and converted it, leaving the original floor plan intact.
- The graphic design company bought the house in 1958 and relocated in 1965, trying to sell the house for $70,000.
- In 1960, the Glessner House was named an honorary Chicago landmark.
- A handful of local architects join together in 1966 to form the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation in order to save Glessner House.
- In 1970, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and renamed a Chicago landmark.
- In 1972, the Prairie Avenue Historic District, which includes the Glessner House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- In 1976, the Glessner House was named a National Historic Landmark.
- The Chicago School of Architecture Foundation eventually bought it for $35,000 in 1966, and spun off Glessner House in 1994.