Prairie Avenue Historic District

Prairie Avenue Historic District

Prairie Avenue Historic District
4.5

Top ways to experience Prairie Avenue Historic District and nearby attractions

The area
Address
Neighbourhood: South Loop
This downtown neighborhood offers a variety of activities ranging from cultural to sporting. If you happen to visit during football season, you may bump into a boisterous few fans on their way to a Bears game on the southernmost tip of South Loop. On the flip side, Museum Campus offers cultural and educational experiences in its planetarium, museum and aquarium, all situated along the lakefront. Grant Park is one of Chicago’s premier locations for green space and recreation with views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Take a stroll down memory lane in the historic Prairie District where you can enjoy views of old historic homes. Restaurants, theaters, and clubs are spread throughout the neighborhood along with a collection of burger joints along Michigan Avenue just across from the park.
How to get there
  • Cermak–McCormick Place • 6 min walk
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles30 reviews
Excellent
20
Very good
9
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,761 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
Prairie Avenue on Chicago's South Side was known as "The Fifth Avenue of the Midwest" and the home of the Who's Who of Chicago's Gilded Age, site of the mansions of farm equipment manufacturing executive John J. Glessner, railroad czar George Pullman, merchant king Marshall Field, meatpacking magnate Philip Armour, organ and piano manufacturer William Wallace Kimball and Union Stock Yards founder John Sherman. Prairie Avenue, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and designated a Historic District in 1978 and a Chicago Landmark in 1979, includes the 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie, the 1800 block of South Indiana and 211-217 East Cullerton. It became the city's most fashionable residential area after the Great Fire of 1871. The best known building is noted architect H.H. Richardson's fortress-like Glessner House, built in 1885-1886 at 1800 South Prairie in Richardson's signature Romanesque style. It has been restored as a historic house museum and open for public tours, telling the story of Prairie Avenue and the Gilded Age. Also open to the public as a house museum is the Clarke House at 1827 South Indiana. Built in 1836 and untouched by the Great Fire of 1871, it is the oldest house in Chicago and a classic example of the Greek Revival style. It features 19th century furnishings depicting life on the urban frontier. Over the decades, factories, parking lots and warehouses replaced the grand mansions. Only seven still exist today.
Written 29 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

judigraff
Arlington Heights, IL16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2020 • Friends
Excellent! I live in Chicago and have taken this tour several times. Learn something new every time!
Written 16 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

msadrakhall
Chicago, IL23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
Great outing! Very informative and interesting history of Prairie Ave. Now I am interested in their other tours!
Written 13 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ted F
Chicago, IL7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019
This small row of elegant homes has been brought back from the dead by loving owners who have renovated the homes of Chicago's 19C barons of industry. It also features one of the most architecturally important homes in America, richardson's Glessner House, which is a bridge from the Victorian era to the modern era of houses, and spectacular in its own right.
Written 4 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,761 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018
In the late 1800s, Prairie Avenue was Chicago's most prestigious address, home to some of the city's richest and most famous people, including George Pullman, Philip Armour, Marshall Field, John Glessner, William Wallace Kimball, Gustavus Swift and Potter Palmer. Historically, the north-south thoroughfare on Chicago's South Side extended from 18th Street to 22nd Street. Today, only 11 residences have survived from the district's glory days. Visitors can sign up for a walking tour of the district at the Glessner House Museum or can explore on their own. A two-block section of the street forms the core of the Prairie Street Historic District, which is designated as a Chicago Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It covers the 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie, the 1800 block of South Indiana and 213 through 217 East Calumet. The district is anchored by two famous buildings: the Clarke House at 1827 South Indiana and the Glessner House at 1800 South Prairie. The Clarke House is the oldest surviving building in the city, dating to 1836, but it was moved to its current address in 1977. The street's heyday was short-lived. Palmer moved to the North Side and friends followed. The first factory arrived in 1915 and many grand homes were turned into rooming houses after World War I. As the neighborhood became more commercial, most of the houses were torn down. Not much remained by the time Prairie Avenue became a Chicago Landmark in 1979. Today, it's a book of old memories of a glorious era in Chicago's history.
Written 12 November 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Canadianlotus
Manitoba, Canada72 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Family
Beautiful area of the city hidden away from hustle and bustle but one doesn’t have to look too far! Brick low story building that are well kept, fresh flowers adorn patios, balconies and walk ways, lots of dog owners walking their fur babies.
Written 11 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eric P
Jacksonville, FL108 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Couples
I wrote separate reviews for both the Glessner House (1880s) and the Clarke House (1830s). These adjoin the Chicago Women's Park and Gardens. Prairie Avenue as a neighborhood preserves some of the original properties that were missed by the Chicago Fire, survived the industrialization of this area near the railroad tracks, Depression and then salvaged while many mansions were razed. The Clarke House was relocated from another location and restored. The Glessner Hourse remained in one family until obtained by a professional architect's association and then turned over for restoration. I recommend you allot at least four hours to do a walking tour of the neighborhood, check out the lake and skyline view from a hidden park east of Prairie Avenue, and make the most of the tours and docents at the two houses. One final treasure is the Women's Park and Garden itself, including a compelling statue honoring Jane Addams. My wife is a social worker, so this was meaningful. And our church dedicates a special week of service we call: "God's Work. Our Hands." See the attached photo. Jane Addams is honored in this tribute to loving loving and dutiful hands.
Written 11 October 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leslee C
chicago42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Family
Oldest home in Chicago, moved back to within 2 blks of the original location and well restored with a small museum in the basement. Beautiful gardens surround it, with a sculpture garden in honor of Jane Addams and a community vegetable garden as well.

The tour (free) was excellent.
Written 5 September 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,761 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017
Often described as Chicago's "original Gold Coast," the six-block stretch known as the Prairie Avenue Historic District was home to some of the city's wealthiest--more than 75 millionaires to be exact--and most influential citizens during the last three decades of the 19th century. Located on the 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie Avenue, the 1800 block of South Indiana and 211-217 East Cullerton, it became Chicago's most fashionable residential district after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The city's wealthiest and most prominent citizens--Marshall Field, Phillip Armour and George Pullman--were soon joined by dozens of Chicago's business, social and civic leaders, including John Glessner, William Wallace Kimball, Calvin Wheeler and John Shorthall. Substantial homes were designed by the leading architects of the day, including Richard Morris Hunt, William Le Baron Jenney, Burnham and Root and Solon S. Beman. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and designated a Chicago Landmark in 1979. However, by the 1890s, railway lines and factories had moved precariously close to the mansions and residents began to move to quieter neighborhoods. By the 1920s, some homes became rooming houses or were demolished. Fortunately, concerned citizens stepped in to save a number of the grand Victorian homes. Today, 11 residences have survived from the district's glory days. Nine of them have been declared historic landmarks. Visitors can sign up for a walking tour of the district or can explore the neighborhood on their own. The starting point for one and all should be the Glessner House Museum at 1800 South Prairie Avenue, which was built in 1887 and is furnished as it was in the 1880s with an outstanding collection of 19th century decorative arts. The other famous building in the district is the Clarke House Museum at 1827 South Indiana. It is the city's oldest building, dating to 1836, and was moved to its present site in 1977. Walking the streets of the district is like paging through a scrapbook of old, fading pictures and trying to recall how it must have been when South Prairie Street was the most prominent address in town.
Written 6 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SweetWillie
Chicago, IL213 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017
More millionaires living in the late 1800s than anywhere else in the US. There are displays that describe the various mansions that were on Prairie, Pullman's, Fields.
Written 5 February 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Prairie Avenue Historic District (Chicago) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

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