Built in 1887, the private winter home of Chicago industrialist John Glessner and his wife, Frances, is now a treasured museum open year-round to explore the 17,000-square-foot residence designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The organic design Richardson employed later influenced architects like Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Glessner House is the only surviving Richardson-designed building in Chicago.
Anchoring the Prairie Avenue Historic District, the mansion’s pink granite, fortresslike exterior is just one of the many architectural details distinguishing it from the ornate neighboring Gilded Age mansions once occupied by wealthy Chicago families like the Fields, the Armours and the Pullmans. Other innovative features include the attached coach house, the third-floor conservatory, the interior courtyard and built-in storage cabinets.
His home is almost entirely furnished with original Glessner possessions collected over the 50 years the family lived here. Potter William de Morgan crafted the parlor urn and the fireplace tiles adorned with an Arts and Crafts acanthus leaves motif.