Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The E. Arthur Davenport House

Born in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright is still known today as one of the most important architects ever to come out of America to date. Throughout his career, he would develop a truly American style of architecture. More importantly, his designs, through many are nearing 100 years in age, still continue to be ‘modern’ in every sense of the word. The E. Arthur Davenport home, constructed in 1901, is considered by many to be among one of the first official Prairie school style houses built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The E. Arthur Davenport House in River Forest, Illinois

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the home for Mr. Davenport and his wife, Susan. E. Arthur Davenport was a local passenger agent with the Pullman company, a railroad car, streetcar and trolley bus manufacturer in the Chicago area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though it was early in his career, Wright was extremely intelligent when it came to properly planning a home within the landscape. In this particular case, Wright placed the home on the North edge of the property to allow for maximum usage of natural light.

The exterior of the home, which consists of batten and horizontal stained wood board, features many of the typical Prairie style elements. This particular home also features a gabled roof with slightly broader than usual eaves. Lastly, visitors will also note the use of leaded art glass windows and skylights throughout the home.

Nick-named “the small house with lots of room,” the E. Arthur Davenport house features seven rooms in an open, flowing floor plan. The entryway for the home is sheltered, protecting visitors from the harsh Northern winter climate.

The living room features a fireplace with Andirons, which are horizontal bars that hold up logs in a fireplace. In the Davenport home, the Andirons feature spherical ends and are similar to the Andirons that Wright used in other homes built during that period including the William Herman Winslow house (1894) and the B. Harley Bradley house (1900.)

The E. Arthur Davenport House Tod

The E. Arthur Davenport house has been fully restored by its current owner, Paul Harding, who has owned the home since 2004 and at the time of this article’s completion in October 2016, still owns the home. Mr. Harding has removed all of the additions to the home, including the altered living room bay, which he has returned to it’s original triangular design as created by Wright in 1901.