frank-lloyd-wright-architecture-the-ward-w-willits-house

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Ward W. Willits House


Ward Winfred Willits lived in his Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built Highland Park home from the day of it’s completion until his death at age 92. Like several other Prairie style homes in the area, it is debated by many (including Arthur Robert McCarthur; Frank Lloyd Wright - Architect) to be one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first “official” Prairie style homes.


The Ward W. Willits home’s official date is disputed. In some resources, it is listed as 1901, while others list it as 1902 or 1903. This is due to the fact that some websites and books list the date that the home was designed in, while others list the date that construction began, and finally some list the date where the home was completed.

Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois

The exterior of the Ward W. Willits home is comprised of stucco and wood, much like many of the other homes built during that same period. It is said that Wright preferred the stucco because it gave the homes a true, clearly defined geometric appearance; which wood siding could not provide.

The home is two stories and has a long, still somewhat low horizontal profile across the spacious lot. Originally when first built, the property also featured a gardener’s cottage and stables. However today, that part of the property has been split off and that house is now it’s own, separate residence, which is referred to as the Ward W. Willits Gardener’s Cottage. The exterior of the Willits home also features Wright’s typical low hipped roof, overhanging eaves and art glass windows; all of which are prominent features of his many Prairie style designs.

The interior of the home is laid out in a cruciform plan with all of the main living areas rotating around the focal Roman brick fireplace. The kitchen, dining room and living room are all on separate wings of the home.

The home also features a port-cochre as well as a terrace off the dining room.

The Ward W. Willits House Today

The Willits house was purchased and renovated by Milton and Sylvie Robinson in the late 1980s and is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Throughout the years, the Willits home has remained a private residence. So any visitors who wish to view the home should do so from street distance rather than trespassing onto the property.