Back where we started


It seems no time at all since we were standing in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, gazing up at an architectural detail which he’d cleverly managed to great effect.  Today, in Chicago, we chose to give our last full day an architectural theme and started out this morning for a tour of the city as seen from the river.




One of the things we love about the city is the mix of old and new, of low rise domestic buildings side by side with high skyscrapers.  As we walked down Wabash this morning, we saw several examples and stopped to take photos.




We boarded the 10.30 cruise with 75 members of the Healy family, here for a weekend reunion and who kindly offered us honorary Healy status for the duration of the journey! 




Along the river, we saw a mix of the huge new commercial properties and the bijou riverside residences.  Here, in the middle of this world-class city, we were surprised to see these small houses in a tight spot between a couple of monsters.




I loved the little bridge-houses, each one different from the others and all with such character.




I particularly liked this one!




The commentary was good and offered lots of information – including the story that the architect of the black tower structure above, which has five “fingers” put a dark ring on one of them to signify his engagement.  Do we believe that?  Well…it’s a good story, isn’t it?




River cruise over, supplies of a famous Chicago product were obtained and away we drove to our next location of architectural interest: Oak Park.




Not only is the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway there, but in these leafy avenues, other treasures are to be found.




Beautiful homes of the Arts and Crafts era




Homes of great architectural significance




including some by the man himself, Frank Lloyd Wright.




Having enjoyed a walk around the area, it was time to join the tour of his home and workplace; to finish our road trip where we started, so to speak.




Inside this, his first family home, we were able to see some of his first concepts, many of which were still in evidence at Taliesin West.  The hearth features large in FLW’s buildings, and here was no exception.




There were beautiful decorative features including this cover for the light above the dining table




and lovely murals painted on opposing walls in the master bedroom.




The vaulted ceiling in the playroom was another lovely feature, and that mural in the arch…wow!  Sadly the light wasn’t brilliant to take clear photographs of it, but there were always postcards to buy later.




From there, it was into his workroom/studio, where clients would have been brought to consider their project options.




The best bit here was the little heap of drawings




including these precious details.  Isn’t that lettering just amazing?




Leaving the house and garden behind, we noted the nameplate by the front door and made our way back into the city for one last dinner with Mary.  Tomorrow, we’ll pack up and fly away home in opposite directions.

What a trip it’s been!

Before we leave

Sore feet and culture