Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Thomas H. Gale House; 1892
Frank Lloyd Wright designed several homes “off the books” while working for the Sullivan and Adler architectural firm in Chicago, Illinois. One of these homes, the Thomas H. Gale home (or, the Thomas Gale home,) is located down the street from Wright’s own home and studio on Chicago avenue. These “off the books” houses, including the Thomas H. Gale home, would eventually be known as Wright’s “bootleg” houses. Unfortunately for Wright, the creation of these homes would lead to his dismissal from the firm.
Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Thomas H. Gale house in Oak Park, Illinois
The Thomas H. Gale house, as it is known today, is strikingly similar in design to the Robert G. Emmond house, the Robert P. Parker house, the Walter Gale house and the Francis Wooley house. These four homes, though overall of the same design, have many individual differences.
Built on a stone foundation, the Gale house is comprised on a rectangular core with octagonal bays. These octagonal bays featured conical roofs, keeping in design with the other homes. THe exterior of the Thomas Gale house is covered in wooden clapboard. Overhanging eaves are also present on the home and the style would eventually become a common sight in Wright’s later, more modern designs. Like the other four houses, the Thomas Gale house is considered to be more geometric in pattern and shape when compared to other Queen Anne or Victorian style homes of that particular era.
The current front porch, however, is not the original porch of the home; though it does not detract from the home’s overall historic appearance. Furthermore, the steps that seem to spill out into the yard are nearly identical to the steps featured on the other similar home.
The Thomas H. Gale House Today
The home is still used today as a private residence and visitors should respect the privacy of the current owners. As of August 2010, the Thomas H. Gale home is listed for sale. According to the listing on the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the interior of the home has been updated to include modern conveniences such as an expanded kitchen and a master bathroom. It is currently listed at $1,295,000.
The home is also listed on the U.S. National Register of HIstoric Places (as of 1973,) the Frank Lloyd Wright—Prairie School of Architecture Historic District and as of 2002, it is also an Oak Park Landmark.