Frank. W. Thomas House (1901)
210 Forest Avenue

Northeast view from Forest Avenue
This house, commissioned by James C. Rogers in 1901 for his daughter and her husband, Frank Wright Thomas, is the earliest of Wright's fully mature residences in Oak Park. Thus, it is the first "Prarie Style" house in Oak Park! It is also the first house by Wright to have its main rooms raised a full story above grade on a high basement.

South face of house
This house also has the distinction of being Wright's first all stucco house in Oak Park, and only the third of its kind by Wright. By changing from wood to stucco in the design of his frame houses, Wright was able to achieve the kind of precise geometric masses that his rapidly developing modern aesthetic required.
Typical of Wright's houses in the period 1901-03 is the arched entrance, leaded glass accenuated by bits of white and gold, and the beaded moldings. This entrance way is famous for its "false door", which is not seen in this view, but rather is located in the area above the archway. Also unique in this house is the L-shaped floor plan, which orients the house toward the more open view to the north and west, while blocking from view the high brick wall of the row houses on the south side.
Detail of front entryway

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