Historic Charnley-Persky House to Participate in Open House Chicago

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Society of Architectural Historians opens doors to its Sullivan and Wright designed headquarters for Open House Chicago, October 19 & 20.

Charnley-Persky House (photo: David Schalliol)

On October 19 & 20, the Charnley-Persky House will be among the 150 sites participating in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s third annual Open House Chicago (OHC), a free public event that offers participants behind-the-scenes access to over 150 sites across the city. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the Charnley-Persky House, which serves as the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during OHC weekend.

The James Charnley House, as it was originally known, was designed by Louis Sullivan with assistance from his junior draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1891–1892 and is recognized as a pivotal work of modern American architecture. The design of the house represents a shift from the ornate details of Victorian architecture toward a simplification of surface and mass that prefigured Wright’s later Prairie School work. In 1995, Chicago philanthropist Seymour H. Persky donated funds to SAH to purchase the home, and it was renamed the Charnley-Persky House in his honor. A National Historic Landmark, the Charnley-Persky House Museum is open to the public for docent-led tours every Wednesday and Saturday.

Visit charnleyperskyhouse.org for more information.

No registration is required for Open House Chicago. Sites will be open on a first-come, first-served basis. OHC weekend will provide access to a wide variety of sites with diverse styles and functions. This diverse selection of sites allows visitors to plan itineraries according to their own specific interests.

For more information on Open House Chicago and a list of sites, visit openhousechicago.org.


The Society of Architectural Historians promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by vocation or avocation, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH is headquartered in Chicago’s landmark Charnley-Persky House, one of the few extant Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright residences. The Society publishes its quarterly print Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH) and the Buildings of the United States book series, organizes study tours and hosts the SAH Annual Conference. SAH’s digital resources include SAH Archipedia, a media-rich online encyclopedia of American architecture, and SAHARA, a shared online image archive for teaching and research. To learn more about SAH or to become a member, visit sah.org.

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Helena Karabatsos
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