A National Historic Landmark, no visit to Chicago would be complete without visiting the Glessner House Museum in Chicago’s Historic Prairie Avenue District.
A radical departure from the traditional residential form when it was built in 1887, the Glessner House was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and played an integral role in redefining American domestic architecture.
Get a first-hand look at how the one percent of the one percent lived back in the day as you savor the important collection of original furnishings representing the Aesthetic, Modern Gothic, English, and American Arts and Crafts movements.
Steep Yourself in History & Architecture
In 1885, John and Frances Glessner – both civic leaders in Chicago and an influential family during the Gilded Age – purchased a corner lot on Prairie Avenue, which was the most exclusive street in Chicago at the time. When the house was completed, its imposing granite exterior stood out among the other homes, whose designs were patterned after older European styles. The home was a perfect expression of both the Glessner’s and the Richardson aesthetic.
See what caused a stir with all the neighbors by touring the Glessner House Museum, which is Richardson’s only surviving work in Chicago.
What You’ll See on Your Visit
The interior, with its warm oak paneling, grand staircase and stately fireplaces, is an ideal setting to peruse the Glessner’s extraordinary collections of furnishing and decorative arts. Best described as eclectic, the Glessner’s taste encompassed the English Arts and Crafts Movement as well as the Aesthetic Movement, and the décor is a stellar showcase where you’ll find many original pieces including textiles, carpets and wallpapers by Morris and Company in addition to decorative objects, tiles, and glass by De Morgan, Minton, Galle, and Tiffany.
A truly immersive experience, the team at the Glessner House Museum were fortunate to have Frances Glessner’s original journal she kept for 40 years which provided the documentation needed to set the rooms exactly as they were while the family and servants resided there.
Glessner House Museum Tours, 75-minute, docented tours that explore Richardson’s urban masterpiece, examine his truly American style of architecture and dive in-depth into the collection of rotating exhibits (offered year-round, Wednesdays through Sundays)
Visit glessnerhouse.org for details and to plan your visit.
A Unique Event Venue
Whether you’re looking to host a private party in the historic home’s courtyard or an unforgettable wedding in a classic setting, there’s numerous spaces available all of which provide a transportive backdrop you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Details available here.