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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Walser, Joseph J., House
Reference Number 13000185
State Illinois
County Cook
Town Chicago
Street Address 42 N. Central Avenue, Chicago, IL
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 04/23/2013
Areas of Significance ARCHITECTURE
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The Joseph J. Walser House meets Criterion C of the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for it embod[ies] the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, namely the Prairie School of architecture popular in America between 1890 and 1920. The house was designed in 1903 by the internationally-renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). The Walser House is an exemplary local example of an early Prairie School work in the Austin Community Area and displays intact architectural qualities - an economy of material and ornamentation, emphasis on horizontality, and spaciousness and efficiency in interior spatial organization- that have come to be synonymous with Wright's work and that of his fellow Prairie School architects. The home's exterior shows several hallmark characteristics of the style of American design that was new at the time, including heavy and abstracted formal massing, accentuation of horizontality, expansive roof eaves, honest expression of structure, and a simple Japanese-inspired material palette of white stucco and wood trim. Inside the Walser House, Wright's spacious open plan anticipates the new spatial and social informality that would come to dominate American residential architecture in the twentieth century. Shortly after its construction, the Walser House was recognized for its important design in photographs published in the September 1905 issue of House Beautiful and in one of the influential Wasmuth portfolios of Wright's work that brought the architect international fame. The home has also been designated as a local landmark by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in recognition of its progressive design and its associations with Wright.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria