Walter H. Gale House (1893)
1031 Chicago Avenue

The triple of houses on Chicago Avenue, just west of Wright's Home & Studio, have come to be called the Bootleg Houses as they were designed by Wright while he was still working at the firm of Adler & Sullivan, who forbade him to take outside commissions.

View from Chicago Avenue
The Walter Gale House was Wright's first completed commission after quitting Adler & Sullivan in 1893. While stylistically a Queen Anne design - evident in the complexity of the massing, the classical details of the dormer, the Palladian windows in the side gables, and the varied textures of the shingles, clapboards, brick and diamond pane leaded glass - the geometric purity of the design of this house for druggist Walter Gale are unconventional, and mark the beginning of the struggle by Wright to free himself of the constraints of the historic style of design.
Formal wood panels, beamed ceilings and tiled fireplaces are precursors to the fully developed Prairie elements that would emerge in Wright's later designs. This 5BR, 3BA home has 4 floors with over 4000 sq. ft. of living space, many closets, large rooms, original built-ins and diamond-pane glass.

The above commentary was excerpted from Guide to Frank Lloyd Wright & Prarire School Architecture in Oak Park by Paul E. Sprague (published 1986). The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust Book Catalog offers a selection of guidebooks which can be ordered online. --
Copyright © 1996-2001 Steven Hurder, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED