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Architecture - The Art and Science of Designing and Erecting Buildings

Day 1

Start your tour at Frank Lloyd Wright's first home and workplace. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio served as Wright's private residence and workplace from 1889 to 1909 - the first 20 years of his career. Wright used his home as an architectural laboratory, experimenting with design concepts that contain the seeds of his architectural philosophy. Here he raised six children with his first wife, Catherine Tobin. In 1898, Wright added a studio, described by a fellow-architect as a workplace with "inspiration everywhere." In the Studio, Wright and his associates developed a new American architecture: the Prairie style, and designed 125 structures, including such famous buildings as the Robie House, the Larkin Building and Unity Temple. They invite you to visit and experience the restored site as it appeared in 1909, the last year that Wright lived in the Home and worked in the Studio. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio features soaring spaces, art glass windows and bold geometric forms.

Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his client Frederick C. Robie, is considered one of the most important buildings in the history of American architecture. Designed in Wright's Oak Park studio in 1908 and completed in 1910, the building inspired an architectural revolution. Its sweeping horizontal lines, dramatic overhangs, stretches of art glass windows and open floor plan make it a quintessential Prairie style house. Although it was designed more than ninety years ago, the building remains a masterpiece of modern architecture. Tours of the site offer both a first-hand experience of its amazingly contemporary spaces and the current restoration work that is returning the house to its original appearance. Guided interior tours are available.

For lunch your group can enjoy fine dining while viewing Chicago's lakefront at The Pier at Harborside is located in the 24,000 square-foot Prairie Style clubhouse at Harborside International Golf Course. The restaurant is situated on 458 acres of peaceful greens and serves casual American fare. This Frank Lloyd Wright style clubhouse can accommodate up to 300 people for catered events and receptions. Harborside International Golf Course is a state of the art golfing facility that includes two par 72 championship golf courses with all the amenities of a private club. Harborside is home to the John Jacob's Golf Academy and a 58-acre practice facility, which is illuminated for night play.

Then it's time to explore the Pullman Historic District. This unique community was built in 1880-1884 as a planned model industrial town for the Pullman's Palace Car Company. Construction of the town was executed by Pullman employees. Structures were made of brick, fashioned from clay found in Lake Calumet, at a brickyard built south of the town for this purpose. Pullman shops produced component parts used throughout the building of the town. This project was one of the first applications of industrial technology and mass production in the construction of a large-scale housing development. The town of over 1,000 homes and public buildings was completed by 1884, less than four years later. Tour includes stops at the Visitors Center, the Greenstone Church, the Hotel Florence and the Pullman Factory Site.

Dinner can be enjoyed at the internationally known Public Landing Restaurant. Located on the banks of the I&M Canal in downtown Lockport, the Public Landing Restaurant is housed in the historic Gaylord Building. Built in 1838, this building played a vital role in one of the great enterprises of the 19th century: the digging of the 96-mile-long Illinois & Michigan Canal. The handsome limestone warehouse was the construction depot for the canal, which linked Lake Michigan with the Illinois River, opening the Midwest to commerce and industry. In 1987 the Gaylord Building opened to the public, featuring The Public Landing Restaurant in addition to the adjacent museum. In early 2009, this historic building was featured in the Public Enemies movie starring Johnny Depp, bringing Public Landing to the forefront of Chicago and the surrounding community.

Day 2

Begin the day be letting the expert docents on the Wendella Sightseeing Boats educate your group with a unique insight into Chicago's Architecture. The tour starts at the Wrigley Building, Chicago's most recognizable architectural treasures. Choose between the 60 minute, river only, in-depth architecture narrative or the 90 minute, lake and river, narration overview of the city's architecture and history. Tours depart seven days a week and the boat includes open air and covered seating.

Next, it's time for lunch at the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant. Located on the corner of 14th Street and Michigan, the firehouse was erected in 1905 by a famous architect by the name of Charles Harmann and was built to serve the Prairie Avenue Community. Residents of Prairie Avenue consisted of many of the first families of Chicago, such as the Marshall Fields, the McCormicks, the Palmers and the Glessners. This unique firehouse is constructed of yellow brick and limestone (different from the standard red brick). The building stands in much of its same splendor today, however the stables, which used to house the horses for the wagons, have now been replaced with a courtyard. The upstairs, which once had a large room to store the hay for the stables, later transformed to a handball court has now been transformed to a banquet kitchen. The remaining part of the upstairs contained the living quarters for the firemen; where the movie Backdraft was filmed, now serves as the banquet space. Reminiscent of the old spiral staircase, which in the wintertime prevented horses from climbing upstairs to the living area where the heat existed, has now been relocated to the courtyard. Great efforts were made to preserve as much as possible, but still allow the operation to be functional as a restaurant. The tin ceiling, the glazed tile walls, the two fire poles located in the bar, and the chief's wall passed when entering the bar, are all original.

After lunch spend the afternoon viewing the many buildings in the Chicago Southland that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Below is a listing of the buildings and the towns they are housed in.

  • Bloom Township High School - Chicago Heights: Bloom Township High School opened in 1904 and is nationally recognized as an outstanding example of public art deco architecture. The interior entry includes a remarkable set of wall frescoes by the American artist Edgar Britton. The library contains a large globe made by the Weber Cordello Company for Franklin Roosevelt.

  • Carl Vogt Building - Tinley Park: The Carl Vogt Building was built in 1865 for John Lewis. Carl Vogt was the first individual anyone could remember living in the mansion. The former Vogt family mansion is now used as an office building. Exterior viewing allowed. The building hallway is open during business hours.

  • Ford Airport Hangar - Lansing: The Ford Airport Hangar was successfully designed by Albert Kahn by overcoming hangar design limitations of the era. The hangar was built for Henry Ford in 1926 and is significant due to its innovative features including large sliding doors, expansive windows and a cantilevered construction. It has also been said that the small room at the corner of the building may have been the first airport passenger waiting room/terminal.

  • George R. Thorne Summer House - Midlothian: George R. Thorne, partner in brother-in-law Aaron Montgomery Ward's mail-order empire, chose this south-side Chicago location for his grand summer cottage. The architect, Howard Van Doren Shaw, was well known among Chicago's social elite and a master at adapting historical styles to the design of American Houses. Exterior viewing only allowed.

  • H.A Rathje Dutch Style Windmill - Peotone: The Rathje Dutch Style Windmill was built in 1872 as a full-sized, five story Dutch style windmill, which is run by wind. The site is an interpretative center for early pioneer agriculture using 1870 technology.

  • John P Young House - Blue Island: This unassuming 2-story house was the home and base of operations for one of the most influential persons in the development of the Southern part of Chicago. Young had key roles in land, housing and railroad developments. The house was built prior to 1850 by Carlton Wadhams, designer of the American House Hotel in Blue Island in 1844. Exterior viewing only allowed.

  • Orland Methodist Twin Towers Church - Orland Park: Built in 1898, this church is thought to have a Louis Sullivan tin pattern on the ceiling. This is church is distinctive because of its two different towers.

    End the day at the Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery. When the Illinois Central Railroad built the original train station in 1906, there were only six homes in the community of Flossmoor. The area was a weekend and summer getaway for executives who lived and worked in the city. As time went by and eventually rendered the old building obsolete as a train station, it began to crumble into oblivion. After purchasing the old Flossmoor Train Station building, Dean and Carolyn Armstrong invested another $1.5 million and turned it back into a sound establishment with the modern conveniences customers expect, but preserving as much of the authentic character as possible. By the summer of 1996, things were finally falling into place - and Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery celebrated its Grand Opening on July 8, 1996. Its debut was met with great excitement as the community had its first opportunity to see how lovingly the old building was restored, and what a stunning addition it would make to the town. Flossmoor now had a true "public house" and "community gathering place" - the goal the Armstrong's persisted to achieve.

    ** Please note: Itinerary may be modified to meet your group’s specific needs. Locations and selections are subject to availability. Please contact Tobie at Tobie@VisitChicagoSouthland.com or 708-895-8200 to obtain current pricing and confirmation of dates and locations.

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    Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

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    Historic Pullman District

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    Public Landing Restaurant

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    Wendella Sightseeing Boats

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    Carl Vogt Building

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    Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery


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