WEST PULLMAN — Block Club Chicago is highlighting some of the buildings photographed and chronicled by architecture expert Lee Bey in his new book “Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side” (Northwestern University Press, $30). It is available here.
Today’s focus is The Stephen A. Foster House and Stable at 12147 S. Harvard Ave.
Planners created the then upscale Stewart Ridge subdivision in the highest section of the area, between 121st and 123rd Streets and Wentworth and Normal Avenues. It had its own commuter train station — it still does — providing rail access to downtown Chicago. The subdivision featured wide lots and larger homes, often designed in stately revivalist styles.
One exception was the S. A. Foster House and Stable at 12147 South Harvard Avenue, a summer residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the land association’s vice president and treasurer, attorney Stephen A. Foster. The home was built in 1900 when Wright’s famed Prairie School period was going full swing, but the architect abandoned the style here, designing a frame house with overtly Japanese influences —particularly seen in the home’s flared dormers and the pagoda-like details atop its entry gates. The home still stands today, unrestored but decently maintained. It was also for sale in 2018 and lingering on the market at $180,000 — the cheapest Frank Lloyd Wright listing in America. As I photographed the house for this book, the listing agent even let me in on a secret. “I’ve got a drop dead price of $175,000,” she said. “If you could spread the word.”