Yesterday was Veterans Day, which meant we had a day to thank all the men and women who have served for our country, and that Reid (a government employee) had the day off. So after I was done teaching, we decided to take an adventure west on the green line. I have been dying to visit Oak Park since I moved to Chicago, and finally after two years we made this desire a reality.
Since high school I have respected Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, design and overall visual philosophy. The older I get and the more I learn about him, I honestly like him more. I have seen a bunch of his buildings in the past, but had never been to the small town where he started a family and essentially established himself as a master of modern design and architecture. Walking through Wright's section of Oak Park was incredible. It brought all the reading and research I have done on Wright to life. I love moments like this – where history becomes real. And even more than just history coming to life – I love when historical fictions come to life.
A couple of years ago, I read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. The purely fictional novel based on historical fact is an excellent book of love, tragedy, feminism and architecture. Of course, it doesn't portray either Frank or Mamah, Wright's lover, in a perfect light, but, to me, it makes them and their love so much more real. I couldn't put it down.
The trip to Oak Park helped me bring the book to life and fantasize about everything in the book: building the Cheney house, the "architectural" meetings between the two lovers, the walks to and from each others houses, etc. I even made Reid walk a bit out of the way to see the Cheney House so I could daydream out loud, and we were both a little disappointed in what we saw. It is a beautiful prairie style house built by Wright, but the yard and general upkeep were lacking. All in all both Reid and I truly enjoyed this adventure.
Pictured are just a couple of snapshots from the trip:
*Also, if you haven't read Loving Frank, I highly recommend it! Plus check out the website for the book. It has a great walking tour video of Wright's houses, plus some interior shots.