Oak Park


On Monday we visited Oak Park, which is a suburb of Chicago about 15 miles west of downtown. Oak Park is basically the epicenter for Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture...there's about a dozen houses of his design all within one square mile of his.

FLW is known for pioneering the "prairie" style of architecture, which is marked by horizontal lines (thought to evoke and relate to the native prairie landscape of the Midwest), flat roofs with broad overhangings, windows grouped in horizontal bands, and integration with the landscape. This style was radically different from what was populat in his day (early 20th century). While everybody else around him was all gung-ho about fancy, frilly Victorian homes, he started doing Prairie architecture (which everybody thought was ugly). And I'm not gonna lie: some of it was! For example, we saw this church he designed whose exterior was made entirely of gray concrete. It was very boxy, very linear, and very unattractive! I dunno. I really liked the style of a lot of the houses he made (although I wouldn't want to live in them..they don't look homey enough!), but a church? C'mon. You have to at least try to make those look somewhat pretty!

In Oak Park, we also saw the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway! As with every other building in the area, you could only gon inside via tour (read: $$), but we were just fine taking pictures from the outside. I took a picture of Brock pretending to reel in a fish (Old Man in the Sea? Anyone? Anyone?) and he took a picture of me pretending to yell "Toro! Toro!" to a bull (The Sun Also Rises? Anyone? Anyone?). Yes, we are reading geeks.

Anyway, after our little self-guided tour through Oak Park (which, in case you're wondering, is home to a ton of oak trees), we stopped by a local dairy store and treated ourselves to ice cream! Which was very much deserved because it was hellishly hot outside! (Of course, as soon as we stopped walking around, cloud cover rolled in.)

We headed home and ate dinner at the most amazing sub place on earth: Potbelly Sandwich Works. It's a chain that I've only ever seen in Chicago, and man do they know how to make a gourmet sub. For less than you would spend at Subway, no less! My favorite part of the meal was dessert (naturally!): a "Shelia bar." Basically imagine what an oat chocolate chip, caramel cookie would taste like if it was slightly undercooked, and you got it. Soooo good!


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