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.
Located in Oak Park (Ridgeland), Carleton of Oak Park is minutes from Unity Temple and Madison Street Theatre. This romantic hotel is within close proximity of Ernest Hemingway Museum and House and Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
Make yourself at home in one of the 153 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and microwaves. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available to keep you connected. Bathrooms feature shower/tub combinations, complimentary toiletries, and hair dryers. Conveniences include complimentary weekday newspapers and coffee/tea makers, and housekeeping is provided daily.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Make use of convenient amenities such as complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and wedding services. Additional amenities include a fireplace in the lobby and complimentary use of a nearby fitness facility.
Grab a bite at one of the hotel's 2 restaurants, or stay in and take advantage of room service (during limited hours). At the end of the day, relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge. Breakfast is available for a fee.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include business services, audiovisual equipment, and express check-in. Planning an event in Oak Park? This hotel has 6000 square feet (557 square meters) of space consisting of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. Free parking is available onsite.
The healthcare practitioners at Advanced Physical Medicine utilize advanced technology in their comprehensive, multifaceted approach to pain management, physical therapy, and fitness. Chiropractic physicians treat injuries and misaligned spines with therapies that include decompression machines, and acupuncture sessions address chronic pain from sciatica or carpal-tunnel symptoms acquired while positioning full-size construction cranes over vending-machine toys. Physical therapists focus on rehabilitating patients who have suffered accidental injuries, incorporating innovative ultrasound and light-therapy treatments to promote healing. To encourage wellness from the inside out, certified colonic therapists rid intestines of accumulated waste and toxins, and weight-loss experts help clients to overcome house clutter by creating extra storage space in their pants.
Both the Chicago and Oak Park locations welcome guests with an abundance of natural light and cheerful green exercise machines. Giving back to the local community is a passion enjoyed by many on the staff, including podiatrist and college-level instructor Dr. Mary Ann Bender, who, along with her students, provides foot care at eight uninsured and homeless clinics in Chicago.
“Names like Prairie Fruits Farm, Hidden Springs Creamery and Shepherd’s Way Farms sound like they belong in a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel,” noted Food & Wine magazine as it took in Marion Street Cheese Market’s array of artisan and farmstead cheeses. Since 2004, owner Eric Larson has vetted a staggering array of traditional farms for the market’s collection of cheeses from small and independent dairies throughout Chicagoland and the world.
Back at the shop, resident cheesemongers slice Cowgirl Creamery brie and Rogue River blue to order right off the wheel for optimum freshness. These join chorizo and heritage prosciutto on charcuterie platters, or headline dishes in Marion Street’s Bistro, a 2013 Michelin Bib Gourmand award winner. In the bistro’s dining room and on the seasonal patio, the slow-food menu comes to life with locally sourced dishes such as warm chèvre salad and rabbit pot pie. For shoppers looking to stock their own larder with culinary sundries, Marion Street Cheese Market lines its shelves with gourmet groceries, such as handmade chocolates, elegant jams, and hand-stuffed olives.
"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.
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.