If you take a vacation in Chicago, it’s worth spending a day in Oak Park. The small town was the home of two cultural heavyweights – writer Ernest Hemingway and architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The two main points of interest for me were the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
The Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum are in separate buildings just a short walk from each other. Admission is US$15 (as of September 2016) and includes both buildings. Tickets are purchased at the birthplace.
Since I had just missed the tour of the birthplace, I first visited the museum to see exhibits and artifacts from the great author’s life.
I then walked over to the Victorian house he was born in (July 21, 1899) and lived in until 1905. Most of the pieces in the house are not originals but are from the period. The guide did a fantastic job lecturing about the history of the house and Hemingway’s family. A highlights was his mother’s bedroom, where he was born. The tour lasted about 40 minutes.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is a pleasant walk away from the Hemingway home. Wright lived in the home, which was built in 1889. In the studio, he helped to develop the Prairie School of architecture.
Tours of the home last about an hour and costs US$17 (as of September 2016) with an optional interior photo pass for US$5. It’s highly recommended to reserve tour times in advance on the official website. You can also do a self-guided audio tour of the neighborhood, which contains the largest number of Wright homes anywhere. This takes about 45 minutes and costs US$15. I just missed the last tour of the day because I turned up a bit late.
Scoville Park, near the Hemingway Museum, is a public park dedicated in 1912. There’s a monument dedicated to World War I soldiers in the park as well as a marker for the Continental Divide, showing the flow of water for the Great Lakes Watershed and the Mississippi Watershed.
The Unity Temple, a Unitarian Universalist temple designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1908, is also in Oak Park. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit.