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A brick Prairie style building with an outdoor patio next to a lagoon.
Cafe Brauer was designed by architect Dwight Perkins in 1908.
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Discover 10 Prairie School buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright disciples

Unique early-20th century churches, homes, a brewery, and more

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Cafe Brauer was designed by architect Dwight Perkins in 1908.
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The name Frank Lloyd Wright is all but synonymous with the Prairie School style of architecture. A few years after he founded a practice in Oak Park in 1893, the iconic architect looked to move beyond the styles of old Europe and pioneered a new approach.

With what later would be called Prairie style was a striking design philosophy that tried to evoke the expansive Midwestern landscape by creating homes featuring open floor plans, lots of horizontal lines, flat roofs with overhanging eaves, and minimal ornamentation.

But Wright didn’t work in a vacuum. Soon a pioneering group of Midwestern architects—some of the associates of Wright or his mentor Louis Sullivan— adopted elements of the new style. Architects such as Dwight Perkins, William E. Drummond, and George Maher expanded upon the new palette of designs and would eventually be known as the Prairie School (though Wright himself referred to it as “The New School of the Middle West”).

For Prairie School fans looking for a tour of Chicago structures designed by architects not named Frank Lloyd Wright, we’ve mapped 10 of them.

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1. Colvin House

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5940 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 654-2999
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Early 20th-century architect George Maher developed his own distinct style that blended Prairie School with more traditional forms. You can see that in Edgewater’s Edwin Colvin House, a 6,000-square-foot mansion built in 1909 that combines Prairie and classical American styles and features dominant central entries, broad hipped roofs, and bold rectangular massing. In 2017, the Colvin House was converted into a co-working and event space.

2. American Islamic College

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4030 N Marine Dr
Chicago, IL 60613

Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Barry Byrne used Prairie style as a creative basis for his own practice, where he designed single-family homes as well as modern ecclesiastical buildings in Chicago. Byrne designed the Immaculata High School in 1922, which was an all-girls Catholic high school for 60 years. Today, it is home to the American Islamic College. Recently, a team of developers announced a plan to convert the former school into 275 housing units and construct a new 23-story tower in the parking lot behind it.

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former Immaculata High School (Barry Byrne, 1922)

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3. Carl Schurz High School

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3601 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 534-3420
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Dwight H. Perkins designed 40 public schools, but his masterpiece is considered to be Carl Schurz High School, completed in 1910. Blending both the Chicago and Prairie schools of architecture, the school has been described by the American Institute of Architects as “the best and most important” of his designs.

4. Cafe Brauer

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2021 N Stockton Dr
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2400
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The 112-year-old Cafe Brauer is arguably one of the city’s most under appreciated buildings. With everything going on around it—it’s literally in the middle of Lincoln Park Zoo—Prairie School architect Dwight Perkins’ masterpiece is hidden in plain sight. Next time you go to the zoo, stop and appreciate the details of the lagoon-side restaurant such as clay title insets, curving loggia, and impressive brickwork.

5. Humboldt Park Boathouse

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Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N Humboldt Dr
Chicago, IL 60622

Danish-American landscape architect Jens Jensen’s brought his own naturalistic Prairie style in redeveloping Humboldt Park in the early 1900s. His design included an extension of the lagoon, a “prairie river,” pedestrian bridges, and aquatic plants. In 1907, architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin added a Prairie-style boathouse that continues to influence modern architecture.

6. Pleasant Home

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217 Home Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-2654

Many of the homes in Oak Park constructed in the late 19th century were traditional Queen Anne and colonial revival styles, but the mansion Maher designed for investment banker John W. Farson in 1897 resembles Prairie School. The house, which currently serves as a museum that hosts community events and cultural performances, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

7. First Congregational Church of Austin

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(773) 287-5777

Frank Lloyd Wright student William E. Drummond was influenced by his mentor’s Unity Temple when he designed this Austin church. The one-story building consists of a tall central section with massive brick piers with leaded glass windows recessed in the spaces between them and a clerestory lit by a large skylight with lower side-aisles. The 1908 building was built for a Congregational assembly but it has also housed Seventh-Day Adventist, Catholic, and Church of God in Christ congregations.

8. Schoenhofen Brewery

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500 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60616

Only two buildings remain of the original site of a German-American brewery: the administration building constructed in 1886 and the 1902 powerhouse. The latter, designed by the firm of Schmidt, Garden & Martin—famous for designing the main building of Michael Reese Hospital—is a good illustration of Prairie School-style.

9. Ernest J. Magerstadt House

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4930 S Greenwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

Maher also designed this handsome 6,550 square-foot Kenwood home. The relationship to Wright’s work is evident in the ribbons of windows, low-pitched roof, and deep, unbroken eaves. It was purchased for $2.25 million in 2016.

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10. Allan Miller House

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7121 S Paxton Ave
Chicago, IL 60649

This prairie-style South Shore home is the only surviving building designed by John S. Van Bergen in Chicago. The Frank Lloyd Wright colleague designed it for ad exec Allan Miller in 1913. It was last sold in 2014 for $305,000.

VHT Studios

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1. Colvin House

5940 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660

Early 20th-century architect George Maher developed his own distinct style that blended Prairie School with more traditional forms. You can see that in Edgewater’s Edwin Colvin House, a 6,000-square-foot mansion built in 1909 that combines Prairie and classical American styles and features dominant central entries, broad hipped roofs, and bold rectangular massing. In 2017, the Colvin House was converted into a co-working and event space.

5940 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660

2. American Islamic College

4030 N Marine Dr, Chicago, IL 60613

Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Barry Byrne used Prairie style as a creative basis for his own practice, where he designed single-family homes as well as modern ecclesiastical buildings in Chicago. Byrne designed the Immaculata High School in 1922, which was an all-girls Catholic high school for 60 years. Today, it is home to the American Islamic College. Recently, a team of developers announced a plan to convert the former school into 275 housing units and construct a new 23-story tower in the parking lot behind it.

4030 N Marine Dr
Chicago, IL 60613

3. Carl Schurz High School

3601 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

Dwight H. Perkins designed 40 public schools, but his masterpiece is considered to be Carl Schurz High School, completed in 1910. Blending both the Chicago and Prairie schools of architecture, the school has been described by the American Institute of Architects as “the best and most important” of his designs.

3601 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60641

4. Cafe Brauer

2021 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

The 112-year-old Cafe Brauer is arguably one of the city’s most under appreciated buildings. With everything going on around it—it’s literally in the middle of Lincoln Park Zoo—Prairie School architect Dwight Perkins’ masterpiece is hidden in plain sight. Next time you go to the zoo, stop and appreciate the details of the lagoon-side restaurant such as clay title insets, curving loggia, and impressive brickwork.

2021 N Stockton Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

5. Humboldt Park Boathouse

Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N Humboldt Dr, Chicago, IL 60622

Danish-American landscape architect Jens Jensen’s brought his own naturalistic Prairie style in redeveloping Humboldt Park in the early 1900s. His design included an extension of the lagoon, a “prairie river,” pedestrian bridges, and aquatic plants. In 1907, architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin added a Prairie-style boathouse that continues to influence modern architecture.

Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N Humboldt Dr
Chicago, IL 60622

6. Pleasant Home

217 Home Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302

Many of the homes in Oak Park constructed in the late 19th century were traditional Queen Anne and colonial revival styles, but the mansion Maher designed for investment banker John W. Farson in 1897 resembles Prairie School. The house, which currently serves as a museum that hosts community events and cultural performances, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

217 Home Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302

7. First Congregational Church of Austin

Chicago, IL 60644

Frank Lloyd Wright student William E. Drummond was influenced by his mentor’s Unity Temple when he designed this Austin church. The one-story building consists of a tall central section with massive brick piers with leaded glass windows recessed in the spaces between them and a clerestory lit by a large skylight with lower side-aisles. The 1908 building was built for a Congregational assembly but it has also housed Seventh-Day Adventist, Catholic, and Church of God in Christ congregations.

8. Schoenhofen Brewery

500 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60616

Only two buildings remain of the original site of a German-American brewery: the administration building constructed in 1886 and the 1902 powerhouse. The latter, designed by the firm of Schmidt, Garden & Martin—famous for designing the main building of Michael Reese Hospital—is a good illustration of Prairie School-style.

500 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60616

9. Ernest J. Magerstadt House

4930 S Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60615
Google Street View

Maher also designed this handsome 6,550 square-foot Kenwood home. The relationship to Wright’s work is evident in the ribbons of windows, low-pitched roof, and deep, unbroken eaves. It was purchased for $2.25 million in 2016.

4930 S Greenwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

10. Allan Miller House

7121 S Paxton Ave, Chicago, IL 60649
VHT Studios

This prairie-style South Shore home is the only surviving building designed by John S. Van Bergen in Chicago. The Frank Lloyd Wright colleague designed it for ad exec Allan Miller in 1913. It was last sold in 2014 for $305,000.

7121 S Paxton Ave
Chicago, IL 60649