Quote of the day – stupefied 1880s NIMBYs

by Joe Zekas on 8/6/12

Henry Hobson Richardson‘s Glessner House, now a museum and local and national landmark, was not well-received by its neighbors at the time it was built, according to a wonderful quote from the Chicago Evening Journal.

On July 10, 1886, the paper reported:

Richardson, the famous Boston architect, had before his death orders for several houses in Chicago, which in a few instances will revert to local architects willing to literally carry out his designs. One of these is a home on Prairie Avenue—that holy of holies where only the elect do dwell—for a wealthy West Sider…. Prairie Avenue is a social street and also a gossipy one, and it does not suit the neighbors that this newcomer should exclude all possibility of watching his window and finding out what may be going on within-doors. It has heretofore been the custom to call all householders together when a new house was projected, and consult with them before breaking ground; if the plans should not please the majority, suggestions were freely offered, and such alterations made as would render it most acceptable, and that this house is going up in spite of disapproval, has thrown the neighborhood into a state of stupefaction.

The 17,000 square foot home still leaves many visitors stupefied by its richness and innovation.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jeff August 7, 2012 at 9:43 PM

good one!

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SheridanB August 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

That’s a great story – would love to know more!

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