Created in 1892, the Charnley-Persky House is a National Historic Landmark that is today recognized as a pivotal work of modern American architecture. This stunning house is located on the 1300 block of Astor Street, within the Gold Coast neighborhood. The Charnley-Persky House (turned museum) was designed by Louis Sullivan from Adler & Sullivan, and his junior draftsman at the time, Frank Lloyd Wright. Together these two showed the world the extraordinary power and talent of their collaboration. They also created hallmarks for modern architecture by straying away from Victorian style architecture and going toward more abstract forms. This historic house/museum also serves as the headquarters for the Society of Architectural Historians, adding quite the informational force to it’s impressive resume.
Once here your group will see the plain brick facade with simple ornamentation, quite a different exterior than the neighboring structures (especially in its time). The house is considered bold in it’s simplicity, a strongly symmetrical building with a modest entry and partially recessed balcony above. Inside you will see the rich ornamentation typical of Sullivan’s work, a vast collection of open spaces and elaborate geometric wood trim throughout the house. The tours of this house last about 60 minutes and are full of stories of Charnley, the Chicago lumberman who stayed here about a decade with his family, Sullivan and Wright working together, and tons of other background information you will delight in hearing. Make sure you see the iconic wooden staircase before you leave, it is a small reminder of the beauty in simplicity apparent in Sullivan’s work.