The suburban village of Oak Park is a absolute gem that is easily accessible from downtown Chicago – via the CTA Blue and Green lines. If your interests include 19th century American architecture, then this is a location not to be missed.
There are 2,400 historic sites in Oak Park, the majority of which are homes built in the Queen Anne, Prairie School and Craftsman styles of architecture (reference: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/5-5-2015/Hulbert-homes-may-get-historic-status/). There is a fantastic database of these sites available at http://www.oak-park.us/village-services/planning/historic-preservation/historic-resources.
Oak Park includes examples of the very first prairie-style houses.
The popular Frank Lloyd Wright trail is an easy walk (or cycle) along beautiful tree-lined streets and avenues.
Walking north on Forest Ave from Lake Street to Chicago Ave is a great way to start the trail. Frank’s studio is on Chicago Ave – make sure to take the tour of the interior. Other well-known architects and artists that worked in Wright’s Oak Park Studio, included Richard Bock, William Eugene Drummond, Marion Mahony Griffin, and Walter Burley Griffin.
For photographers, most houses can be seen clearly from the footpath as there are very few fences in Oak Park. My last visit was on quite an overcast Autumn day in early November. My photos have really even contrast which is great for highlighting some of the magnificent detail in the homes. If there is one word that would sum up the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, it would be detail.