Monday, June 14, 2010

A Walk Back in Time

Time Tunnel
If you walked down S. Prairie Ave. yesterday, you might have thought you were in the nineteenth century. Not to worry, it was just the annual "A Walk Back in Time" fund-raiser presented by the Glessner House Museum.

Annual Event
Once a year, about a dozen existing Prairie Ave. mansions open their doors to the public. The Glessner House is the only Prairie Ave. survivor that is open to the public all year, so getting the opportunity to see the other surving mansions is a real treat.

Elegant not Stuffy
My favorite was the William H. Reid House at 2013 S. Prairie Ave. The three-story Classical Revival structure was a row home, one of a group of attached houses that extended south from Cullerton Ave. But the Reid House is the only survivor. It was built for Reid in 1894. Reid was a successful banker and had the home designed by the firm of Beers, Clay and Dutton. What makes this home remarkable is the fact that it has always been a single-family home. Many of its original features are completely intact, including the nine fireplaces and stained-glass dome in the music room. The dome features a beautiful fleur-de-lis pattern. The home is elegant and rich, without feeling stuffy or overdone.

The walk began at 1 p.m. and continued until 4 p.m. After the walk, there was a reception and silent auction at the Glessner coach house. Among the many items auctioned, was the artwork of artist Jack Simmerling. Simmerling has painted many watercolor paintings of Prairie Ave. mansions, including the Kimball and Glessner houses.

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