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Prairie Avenue historische wijk
Prairie Avenue historische wijk

Prairie Avenue historische wijk

2200 South Prairie Ave,South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

The basics

While the neighborhood was largely rebuilt during the industrial age, 11 heritage mansions are still standing and have been carefully restored by owners and nonprofit groups. The Glessner House and the Clarke House are considered architectural treasures and open to the public as museums. Reaching further back in history, a bronze statue stands as a memorial to the Battle of Fort Dearborn, fought on the site in 1812. South Side walking, driving, and bicycle tours often include a stop here and discussion of the district’s history.

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Things to know before you go

  • The Prairie Avenue Historic District is ideal for architecture and history buffs, as well as those looking to explore beyond downtown Chicago.
  • As the area is residential, please be respectful of homeowners and neighbors.
  • Non-flash photography is allowed inside the Glessner House Museum.
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How to get there

The Prairie Avenue Historic District includes the 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie Avenue, 211-217 East Cullerton, and the 1800 block of South Indiana Avenue. From the Loop, catch the number 3 or 4 bus, the Green Line train to Cermak/McCormick Place station, or the Red Line to the Cermak-Chinatown station.

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When to get there

Go during daylight hours to best appreciate the historic homes. Guided tours of the Glessner House are offered three times daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are free for Illinois residents on Wednesdays.

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The Glessner House Museum

Of all the homes on Prairie Avenue, this château-like stone structure is the most acclaimed. Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1887, it was a striking contrast to the Victorian architecture of the day and is said to have inspired architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe. On docent-led tours through rooms filled with period furnishings and artifacts, visitors can get a glimpse into the private life of one of Chicago's most elite families in the late 20th century.

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