Glessner House

The building on the corner of 18th and Prairie is like a lava cake rolled in a thick layer of coarsely chopped nuts. On the outside, it’s crunchy and looks like it could hurt you. But inside, it’s all warm and gooey and makes you feel loved.

In 1880s Chicago, Prairie Avenue was all the rage. During the previous decade, the comparatively humble Clarke House had moved out and millionaire mansions moved in. Marshall Field lived there. So did Philip Armour, of Armour & Company, and William Kimball, the piano maker. John and Frances Glessner had a comfortable home on the west side, but as frequent entertainers who also had two kids, they needed some more space—17,000 square feet of space. So they bought a corner lot in a tony neighborhood and brought in an east coast architect by the name of Henry Hobson Richardson.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1887
Architect: H. H. Richardson
Address: 1800 S. Prairie Ave.

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Sources for Glessner House

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