flwrightus2.bmp

 

FLWreturn1.bmp

 

 

FLWreturn3.bmp

redsquare.jpg

Houses on Clinton Place and William Street

River Forest, Illinois

 

It is no surprise that houses are newly attributed to Wright even after all these years.  Recordkeeping was not always precise, and the measure of his involvement in the works of others from his office cannot always be calculated.  He may have approved initial designs, but others may have made changes he would not approve.  Work carried on when he was out of the country, and sometimes apprentices’ contributions overtook the Master’s.

 

Some of these “recent finds” are uncontroversial, such as discoveries of modified prefab designs.  Others, like these houses in River Forest, generate a hive of controversy in which absolute proof is impossible and theories (speculation?) might have a difficult time in a court of law.  Of course, the origin of a design ordinarily does not become a legal issue, so the controversy is limited to college classrooms and Wright chatrooms.

 

Thus we find the homes of Clinton Place and William Street, identified to an unconvinced jury of peers as being designed by Wright himself.  Many in the architectural community credit Harry Robinson as the designer, and regard these homes as “bootleg” designs while Robinson was employed by Wright.  Prof. Storrer, however, has identified these as Wright designs with common elements, many being mirror images of each other, based on interior details that suggest FLW, Lloyd Wright, and John Wright.  This causes additional concern: if we have to rely on interior details to define a Wright design, how often will we have the privilege of entering and measuring private residences?

 

Prof. Storrer rejects the theory of Robinson design, arguing that Robinson never took credit for this output when applying for government work.  Others point out that Wright never claimed them, either.  Storrer counters that Wright must have agreed to keep his name off the paperwork, due to his reputation during this time.  I will point out that his blatant womanizing never kept him humble or sympathetic to clients’ feelings (heck, he even took a client’s wife). 

 

Other sites have not included a comprehensive catalog of the questioned properties (some don’t even mention the city).  Without concluding which side is correct, I offer the neighborhood here.

 

Photographed on May 5, 2014.

 

 

Update 2015/2016

 

In 2015 one of Prof. Storrer’s associates announced that another house had been identified by his staff as a Wright design.  Although they did not disclose the precise address, I was able to determine that they are referring to 715 Clinton Place in River Forest – a block from the previously identified houses on Clinton.

 

It should be pointed out that this area is loaded with prairie style architecture from many architects (including Wright apprentices).  In 2013 the Village of River Forest Historic Preservation Commission issued a report cataloging all historic properties in the community.  That report continued to credit these “newly discovered” Wright homes to Harry Robinson – including this new find at 715 Clinton Place (photographed on March 29, 2016).

 

IMG_4185.JPG  IMG_4186.JPG  IMG_4188.JPG

715 Clinton Place

 

Just to show how confusing all of this can be, here is a neighboring house that is not claimed to be a Wright design:

 

IMG_4184.JPG  IMG_4181.JPG  IMG_4182.JPG

719 Clinton Place – not claimed to be by Wright – attributed to John S. Van Bergen

The white house to the right is 715 Clinton Place

 

___________________________________________________________

 

Clinton Place – all claimed to be Wright

 

CL.609B.JPG  CL.609C.JPG  CL.609D.JPG

609 Clinton Place

 

 

CL.625C.JPG  CL.625a.JPG  CL.625D.JPG

625 Clinton Place

 

William Street – all claimed to be Wright

 

Only one house on this block of 26 structures has not been claimed to be Wright’s – the corner house at 706 William.  Our tour begins on the even side of the street.

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  WM.710A.JPG

710 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  WM.710A.JPG

714 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  WM.710A.JPG

718 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  WM.710A.JPG

722 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  WM.710A.JPG

726 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  WM.710A.JPG

730 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  

734 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  

738 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  

742 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG  WM.710B.JPG  

746 William Street

 

WM.706.JPG

750 William Street

 

WM.754A.JPG  WM.754E.JPG 

754 William Street

 

 WM.754B.JPG  WM.754D.JPG

754 William Street (details)

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

755 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.751A.JPG

751 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

747 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

743 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

739 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

735 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  

731 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

727 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

723 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

719 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

715 William Street

 

WM.755B.JPG  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

711 William Street

 

  WM.755A.JPG  WM.755A.JPG

707 William Street

 

New 08/20/2014

Revised 05/08/2016

 

redsquare.jpg

www.zzzcoins.com

www.zzzcoins.com