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Laurie Blazek (left) was thrilled when a team of researchers told her Frank Lloyd Wright had designed her modest, three-bedroom house on William Street in River Forest. Though the house has a ground-hugging profile, geometric art glass windows and other characteristic features of Wright’s Prairie Style, she always thought it was shaped by a lesser architect—someone from Wright’s circle, not the master himself.
“I never in a million years thought I would be lucky enough to live in a Wright home,” said Blazek. “Ever since I bought this house, my mother said I spent too much money. Now she’s less critical.”
Just down the block, a comparable Prairie Style home is for sale, but the real estate agent, Margaret McSheehy, is cautious about its authorship. “Research is currently being conducted to determine if this home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright,” says the Internet listing for the property, a stucco-faced three-bedroom priced at $699,900.
Did he or didn’t he?
That’s the question hovering around 29 houses in Chicago’s suburbs—one each in Glen Ellyn and Wilmette, two in Berwyn, and 25 in River Forest, including 24 of the 26 houses in the 700 block of William Street—now that the researchers are going public with their claim that they’ve found “undiscovered works” by the man widely considered to be America’s greatest architect.
“We stumbled on this and said, ‘My God,’” said the leader of the team, William Allin Storrer of Frankfort, Mich., author of two respected books, “The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion” and “The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog.”