AAfter a five-year hiatus, the Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside is running a house walk, but not just another luxury home tour.
This year’s theme is Masterworks, and the September 28 walk will cover six homes that span generations and were designed by architectural giants such as Frank Lloyd Wright, William LeBaron Jenney, William Drummond, Louis Guenzel , John Vinci and Lawrence Kenney.
“It’s been five years since we last walked so we’re excited to be doing it again,” said organizer and Olmsted Society board member Mike Maloney. “The houses are quite amazing. I really like the architectural lineage of the houses we have chosen.
The LY Schermerhorn House, built in 1870 and designed by William LeBaron Jenney, is one of the oldest houses in Riverside. Maloney points out that Jenney had quite a connection with Riverside.
“Jenney knew Olmsted. He met him during the Civil War at the Battle of Vicksburg, ”said Maloney. “Later, the Riverside Development Company hired Jenney and Schermerhorn, among others, to create public spaces in the village.
Schermerhorn received land for his work with the development company, and he hired Jenney to design his house. Jenney also designed the village’s iconic water tower and many older houses in the village.
“Jenney was known as the father of the American skyscraper, and Louis Sullivan trained under Jenney,” said Maloney.
Four parts of the original Avery Coonley estate will be included in the walk. The Coonley Room Wing, designed in 1907 by Frank Lloyd Wright, was purchased by its current owners about five years ago.
“When they bought it it was in terrible condition,” said Maloney. “They did an amazing job to restore it. It is breathtaking.
Also on the promenade is Maloney’s own home, which he shares with his wife, Cathy, who is the president of the Olmsted Society. Their Wright-designed home was once the Coonley Estate Gardener’s House.
While the Residence, their fourth home during their tenure at Riverside, was the perfect home for them because of its size and single-story design, Mike Maloney says he grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on site of the only skyscraper built by Wright, where Maloney worked as a teenager, so he feels like he’s come full circle.
William Drummond, Wright’s protégé, and Louis Guenzel, Adler and Sullivan’s protégé, designed the other two original Coonley Estate buildings during this year’s walk. Drummond designed Thorncroft as the teachers’ residence for Coonley School, and Guenzel designed the keeper’s house next door.
Architect Sander Kaplan and his wife Theresa Pelletier have painstakingly restored Thorncroft during their 17 years in the house. With the original plans they restored the roof and rebuilt the original front windows and also built an addition to the house. “This house has a lot of character, but not a lot of adornment,” Kaplan said of Drummond’s simple design.
The modern era is represented in the Freeark House, designed by John Vinci and Lawrence Kenney in 1975. The international-style house overlooks the Des Plaines River and Maloney points out that Vinci was also the architect of the restoration of the designed gatehouse. by Guenzel.
Cathy Maloney says the walk has been something a lot of people can’t wait to do again.
“It really has been a community effort to bring this together,” she said. “We expect that a lot of people from out of town and from Riverside will want to see these homes. The Coonley Bedroom Wing has not been open to the public since its restoration.
Tickets for the walk are $ 45 each. They can be purchased individually or in conjunction with the Olmsted Society’s HopStop Craft Beer Festival, which is also held that afternoon after the walk. You can find ticket information and purchase tickets online here.