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Charnley-Persky House Museum

James Charnley, a longtime friend of Louis Sullivan, commissioned Adler & Sullivan to design his home in 1890.

Built

1891-1892

Client

James Charnley and his wife Helen

Address

1365 North Astor St

Status

National Historic Landmark, Chicago Landmark and National Register of Historic Places. Open to the public with tours available on Wednesdays and Saturdays year round.

The Adler and Sullivan firm, which specialized in large commercial structures, frequently assigned smaller residential commissions to others in the office including their chief draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright. The resulting collaborative design of Wright and Sullivan rejected historical details common to Victorian architecture in favor of abstract forms. Wright would later credit this design with teaching him the decorative value of the plain surface. The building’s virtually unadorned brick exterior led the Charnley House to be internationally recognized as a pivotal work of modern architecture. In 1986, the prominent architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, purchased and restored the house. Chicago philanthropist, Seymour Persky, subsequently gifted the building to the Society of Architectural Historians to serve as their international headquarters. Renamed in recognition of its second benefactor, the Charnley-Persky House Museum remains open to the public.

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