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On May 20, 1891, an estimated 6,000 people attended the first-ever Opening Day at Hawthorne Race Course. The event featured the Chicago Derby?a quarter-mile race won by a horse named Brookwood. Since that day, the facility has thrilled Chicago-area racing fans season after season with live competition and full-card simulcasting. But it hasn't always been easy. In 1905, for instance, racing was banned in Chicago for more than 15 years after several of the facility's horses became mired in a political scandal. And Hawthorne Race Course itself has had to overcome its fair share of adversity, including two fires, the most recent of which destroyed the grandstand in 1978.
It's safe to say that Frank Lloyd Wright is a household name, partly because he put his name on so many houses. The sites overseen by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust receive nearly 150,000 visitors a year?tangible proof that the visionary's impact on architecture, design, and culture remains alive and well. To ensure that legacy continues, the Chicago-based nonprofit runs tours at several of Wright's buildings and hosts various educational programs.
Home and Studio: Unity Temple. Robie House. The Rookery Light Court remodeling. All classic pieces of Modern architecture, and all designed inside the studio at 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park. From 1889 until 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright worked out of this residential space, eventually expanding the home to include a proper studio as demand for his services grew. Now an architectural destination in its own right, the Home and Studio welcomes guests seeking a look into the mind (and working conditions) of America's most famed architect. On tours, trained interpreters guide visitors through the space, sharing anecdotes and insights into Wright's work and home life.
Frederick C. Robie House: The crown jewel of Hyde Park's residential architecture, the Frederick C. Robie House was designed by Wright for the up-and-coming industrialist of the same name between 1908 and 1910. Widely hailed as one of the finest examples of the Prairie School of architectural design, the house has earned its share of accolades over the years, including a spot on the very first National Register of Historic Places in 1966. During tour, architectural experts guide groups through each of the house's significant features, from the cantilevered roof and prevalence of horizontal lines to the striking leaded glass windows that give the house its inner light. Tours also cover recent restoration efforts, giving guests an inside look at what it takes to preserve a historic home.
"You know, Unity Temple is my contribution to modern architecture"—bold, blunt, and revolutionary, Frank Lloyd Wright single-handedly forged the Prairie school of architecture, of which Unity Temple is perhaps the purest example. Built between 1905 and 1908, the church broke all of the traditional rules, replacing the steeple with low, flat roofs, removing the prominent entranceway to create a sense of monolithic austerity, and most daringly of all, using poured concrete as not just a structural element but an architectural one. This honest exposure of a conventionally hidden material reflected the philosophy of a man who valued genuine candor over sweetened niceties, whether in word or in stone.
More than a century since its construction, the church is in the midst of an ongoing restoration, funded by member sponsorship and daily admission fees. Although the interior still luxuriates in the wash of natural light from the stained glass ceiling, and the boxy, modern light fixtures flicker on, the exterior faces severe weathering due mainly to Wright's eternally before-his-time designs, which failed to account for the effects of water and time on concrete, and an infestation of rockbiters in the 70s.
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park fosters understanding of the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, with emphasis on his Oak Park origins and his impact on world literature.
We run the Hemingway Birthplace Home and the Hemingway Museum, plus offering scholarly and popular programming and entertainment year-round.
Prodigy Glassworks, INC. is located in the heart of the Oak Park Arts District at 207 Harrison St. Oak Park, Il 60304. Our location features a fine art gallery that offers unique hand-blown and fused glass pieces made by local artists and a glass blowing studio on the premises. We are conveniently located steps away from