Glessner House | The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago with Geoffrey Baer
Geoffrey Baer stops by the Glessner House to get a glimpse into Chicago's Gilded Age.
The Glessner House in Chicago’s Prairie Avenue District is a window in time to the opulent Gilded Age, when wealthy families such as that of John Glessner, a farm equipment magnate, built stylish homes on the city’s Near South Side. With its sturdy, Romanesque revival exterior, the home was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1886. Glessner and his wife, Frances, decorated their home in the Arts and Crafts style. Today, the home even includes many of the Glessner family’s original furnishings, such as a Steinway grand piano with a custom-made case. More than half of the 17,000-square-foot house was used by and for the eight servants, who moved about the house in hidden hallways. The Glessners’ son, George, had a hobby that would prove useful to the restoration efforts of the house that began in the 1960s: photography. George photographed the home in great detail and kept thorough records, according to the Glessner House’s history. The Glessner family lived in the home for 50 years, and today it is run as a museum.