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Get Prairie Schooled by These River Forest Homes

Four homes with unique takes on the iconic Midwestern architectural style are on the market in the western suburb.

Some of the houses on the market date back to the height of the Prairie School movement, while others (pictured) blend several architectural styles.   Photo: VHT Studios

The end of spring in Chicago is followed by housewalk season, finally giving architecture buffs and interested homebuyers something to do outside of the house. There’s the ever-popular Wright Plus Housewalk in Oak Park, tours of the Prairie District in Chicago’s South Loop, and numerous historic district walks throughout the city’s many neighborhoods. 

But one area that shouldn’t be skipped is River Forest. As the western neighbor to Oak Park, River Forest is sometimes overlooked by homebuyers, but those who do browse through listings in the area will find that the quality of the housing stock is on par with prestigious Oak Park. It’s also just as pricey in many cases — expect to spend upwards of $800,000 on a nicely maintained historic home. But for those who are merely curious or wondering what River Forest currently has to offer, here are just a few examples for sale.

754 William Street, $690,000

Photo: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff

This home comes with a nametag: The Arthur C. and Margaret A. Zoller House. A placard attached to the front entryway of this 2,000-square-foot home announces its title and date of completion — 1915, during the peak of the Prairie School movement. Rich in architectural pedigree, this Prairie Schooler is listed below $700,000.

526 Ashland Avenue, $699,000

Photo: RE/MAX in the Village

Perhaps one of the most famous properties in the area, this squat 3,500-square-foot building was once home to the River Forest Women’s Club. Designed by noted architect William Drummond in 1913, the building employs tried-and-true Prairie design elements such as a long, flat roof line and ornamental windows.

206 Franklin Avenue, $799,900

Photo: Coldwell Banker Residential

Here’s an example that touches on Prairie School tropes while also blending elements of other popular styles, such as the American Foursquare from the turn of the century. The earthy aesthetic continues inside, where you can find original millwork and art glass windows.

801 Clinton Place, $830,000

Photo: VHT Studios

While not exactly Prairie School, this 2,600-square-foot home on Clinton Place oozes Old World elegance. The Spanish tile roof, arched windows, and rear porch have a Mediterranean vibe, but the home’s proportions and yellow brick speak to its Prairie style neighbors.

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