Designated Chicago Landmarks in 2000
These twin homes were developed by John Gauler, a meat cutter who engaged architect Walter Burley Griffin to design the buildings. They were built on an urban lot (67 feet) in 1908 and are the expression of the ideals and tenets of the Prairie School of architecture. Research on these homes was done by a student of Paul Sprague of the University of Chicago in 1968. These homes were designated as Chicago Landmarks in 2000.
Burley Griffin was a native of Maywood, Illinois. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1899, he worked as a draftsman for a group of architects called “the Eighteen.” Among those in the group were Dwight Perkins, Myron Hunt, Robert Spenser and Webster Tomlinson. Through Tomlinson he was offered a position in Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in Oak Park. Burley Griffin had passed the certification exam for architecture in Illinois in 1900 and was a welcome addition to Wright’s firm. In 1906 he formed his own firm.
These homes were one of the earliest commission for Burley Griffin in his new firm. When completed, Gauler sold the homes to Henry Jones (5921) and Rev. George Elliott (5917). The actual construction of the buildings was done by A.W. Dickenson. The homes are mirror images of each other except for some details. They share an entrance walk. Both are constructed of wood with stucco finish. Dark Brown wood trims the structures which emphasize the horizontal and make them outstanding on this neighborhood street of two and three flats.
As you approach the front walk, note the wide overhang of the roof and the spacing of the support piers so that the corners are open for wrap around windows. The pitch of the roof is low so that the view from the front shows the porches to be miniatures of the façade of the whole house. The front porches feature ribbon windows along the sides with wooden mullions in a distinctive prairie school geometric design. This design is distinct from the Frank Lloyd Wright designs of stained glass with leaded mullions. These porches project forward from the main body of the house. The windows are casement windows trimmed in dark brown.