Twenty thirteen was a positively hot year for preservation-minded buyers looking to fork over upwards of million bucks and come into the possession of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian home: Wilmington, Del., Cincinnati, Marin County, and, most recently, Millstone, N.J. have all seen these high-maintenance, garage-less wonders initially designed as unfussy and modestly proportioned middle-class abodes hit — and be snatched off —the real estate market.

Also late last year, an older, rarer breed of Wright-designed home officially came on the market in the Chicago suburbs for the first time since 1955. It’s a stately, proto-Prairie style residence, designed in 1893 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, that has bragging rights of being the iconic architect’s first solo commission after parting ways with mentor Louis Sullivan at the age of 26. When built, the home was considered audacious, unusual, unorthodox. After all, it was Wright taking his first stab at completely altering the way Americans viewed residential architecture and the very concept of “home.”

Although it may not seem that entirely unconventional now, the Winslow House at 515 Auvergne Place in the leafy Cook County village of River Forest, is a massively important historic home. And with this massive importance comes a massive price tag of $2.4 million.

When ornamental iron magnate and House Beautiful publisher William H. Winslow commissioned a fresh-faced Wright to design his family home in the early 1890s, he probably had no idea of the influential role it would take in the development of modern American architecture. In a way, the Winslow House, with its imposing limestone and Roman brick facade, is typical Wright complete with the flat, low-slung roof.

It’s also a transitional home with plenty of Sullivan-inspired flourishes as Barbara Gordon of the Chicago Architecture Foundation explains to the Sun-Times: “It’s a building that shows a transitional work — before his {Wright’s] Prairie style, and after he left working for Louis Sullivan. It has features in it reminiscent of Sullivan, in terms of planning and in terms of ornamentation. But it’s pretty symmetrical on the front facade of the building with a central doorway, which was unusual for Wright.

Gordon says of the roof: “It brings your eyes back to the ground level so it emphasizes the horizontality of the overall building, and it in particular links it to Wright’s development to his Prairie style.”

The Winslow House, which, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, hasn’t been shown publicly since 1979 when it opened for tours as part of an Infant Welfare Society-sponsored “house walk,” has enjoyed continuous ownership by the Walker Family since 1958, just a year before Wright’s death. But as things go, family matriarch June Walker passed away last year — her husband, the late Bill Walker, wrote jingles for Wrigley, A&W, Green Giant, Chevrolet, and numerous other companies — and her son Peter has decided to put the 5,000-square-foot family home on the market and pass it on to another owner who will, ideally, take as equally good/borderline obsessive care of it as his family did. Whomever does ultimately purchase the 120-year-old home will be its sixth owner.

You can view the complete listing along with a slew of stunning photography at Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, but here’s a quick rundown of the highlights: Four bedrooms, four fireplaces, conservatory, porte-cochère, enclosed sun porch, stunning oak woodwork throughout including flooring and a hand-carved front door, a carriage house with guest quarters that’s been modernized to accommodate cars, one hell of a window seat, and a storied place in American architectural history. 

Via [Chicago Sun-Times], [AOL Real Estate]

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