Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Walter Gale House; 1893
The Walter Gale house of 1893 is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first completed houses after being let go from the Sullivan and Adler architecture firm in Chicago, Illinois. However, since the house was commissioned prior to his dismissal, it is still considered to be one of his “bootleg” houses. The Walter Gale house is located on Chicago Avenue, just down the street from Wright’s own private residence and studio and is also located next door to the Thomas H. Gale house of 1892.
Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in Oak Park, Illinois: The Walter Gale House
The Walter Gale house of 1893 is nearly identical in plan to it’s neighbor, the Thomas H. Gale house and to the Robert Parker house, also located on Chicago Avenue. The home is designed as a Queen Anne home, though there are many different aspects of the home to differentiate it from its similar neighbors. Furthermore, many believe that it shows how Wright struggled to break away from the historical styles of the era.
While it is extremely similar to the other Wright designed homes, Wright made sure to differentiate each home in order to give each home it’s own personality. For the Walter Gale house, Wright included a narrow, odd but fitting to the home dormer with two stacked windows. The house also has various textures including brick and horizontally placed narrow clapboards and a narrow chimney.
The turret of the Walter Gale home is rounder in shape in comparison to the other homes, which feature Wright’s typical octagonal turret. The turret also features diamond paned leaded glass windows, as art glass windows would become a staple in Wright’s later designs. However, an octagonal bay window is seen on the facade of the home, next to the turret and opposite of the front steps. The front steps are considered to be “very Wright,” as they are described by many to “spill” off the front porch and into the yard, similar to the other homes. Many feel this is a prelude to Wright’s developing theories that architecture should be one with it’s surrounding landscape.
The Walter Gale House Today
In 1973, the Walter Gale house was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The Walter Gale house was recently sold near the end of 1999. It features more than 4,000 square feet of living space with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Like many of Wright’s other designs, the Gale house has remained a private residence throughout the years; so it is important for potential visitors to respect the privacy of the current owners.