The twin houses at 5917 and 5921 were built in 1908 for John Gauler, a meat cutter. He never lived in either of these houses and quickly sold them to Henry Jones (5721) and Rev. George Elliott (5717). The actual construction of the buildings was done by A.W. Dickenson, who also built the residence at 1308 that same year.
Walter Burley Griffin, a colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright, was the architect. These early examples of Griffin’s work reflect influences of the Prairie Style, which was popular from 1907-1915. In an abrupt departure from historical architecture, the Prairie School espoused strong geometric shapes and the dominance of the horizontal. Griffin was responsible for many Prairie Style residences in the Chicago area.
The houses are mirror images except for some details and they are connected visually by a large wooden beam which restates the strong horizontals of each. The homes were built on a small lot and they share an entrance walk.
As you approach the front walk, note the wide overhang of the roof and the spacing of the support piers which allow the corners to be open for wrap around windows. The pitch of the roof is low so the view from the front shows the porches to be miniatures of the façade of the whole house.
These houses are similar in design to the William S. Orth houses in Winnetka. As early works of Griffin, they appear to be scale models with smaller dimensions and some restricted spaces, as in the stairway.
As you enter the home, you will follow an indirect path past a beautiful screen and into the living room. Note the design of the woodwork in this dramatic space. Between the living room and the dining room there is a two-sided fireplace with piers of Roman brick on either side.
The current owners have actively encouraged the study of these buildings and their placement on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.