Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The J. J. Walser Jr. House, 1903
Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed American architect, built a home for Joseph Jacob Walser Jr., a local Chicago-area printing executive. The home, which was built in 1903, was constructed just four years after the suburb of Austin was annexed to the city of Chicago. It is located to the next to the neighborhood of Oak Park, where many additional completed works of Wright also exist, including Wright’s own home and personal studio.
Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The J. J. Walser Jr. House in Chicago, Illinois
The Walser Jr. home currently sits on a narrow lot that is sandwiched between two larger buildings that tower over the two story home. The exterior of the house still features the original stucco siding from 1903 when the home was first constructed, as well as the original wood trim.
The bands of windows on the home originally featured Wright’s art glass windows, which were found in a number of homes that he had designed both before and after the Walser Jr. home. However, the original art glass windows were sold off prior to 1969, when the most recent owner (who still currently resides in the home as of March 2011,) purchased the house.
The home features the standard overhanging eaves and low hipped roof that Wright had begun using in what would become known as his prairie style.
The original interior lighting fixtures were also sold off prior to 1969.
The J. J. Walser Jr. House Today
The home was added to the Chicago Historical Landmarks list in 1984. Though it is a historical landmark, it is still a private residence and has remained such for more than the 100 years it has been standing.
A testament of the times, many locals and Wright enthusiasts feel that the home has fallen into disrepair in recent years. An article published in 2009 by the Austin Weekly News states that it has been added to the Landmarks Illinois’ watch list due to it’s deteriorating state.
The most recent (and current) owner, Anne Teagan, states that she purchased the home back in 1969, approximately 40 years ago, with her husband. Her husband helped her to repair the home over the years, as he was a general contractor, but has since passed away, making it difficult for her to maintain the home herself.
That being said, the home is still a private residence that holds memories for those who have lived there both past, present and future. Trespassing is illegal and should be avoided.