A 100-YEAR JOURNEY FROM PRIVATE HOME TO PEERLESS TREASURE
In 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a home in what was then a lightly settled lakefront area north of Chicago and south of Evanston, IL — an area now known as Rogers Park. Three years after it was built, a man named Otto Bach purchased the house from its original owners, the Steffens family. Otto’s brother, Emil, admired the house — so much, in fact, that he commissioned his own Wright home to be designed and built nearby. The Emil Bach House was completed in 1915.
The house was situated on the north lot line, which provided southern sun exposure as well as maximum distance and privacy for the Bach family from the existing home to the south.
Working in the brickyard with his four brothers, Emil Bach had breathing problems, which, according to his grandson, Owen, he treated by walking down his back porch to swim in the lake every day. At the time of construction, there were no structures between the house and the lake.
The Farcroft Apartments, built in 1928, provide a backdrop for the house and along with other apartment buildings to the east, create a barrier to the full lake view once enjoyed here. While the fresh lake breezes continue, there is just a sliver of lake view from the house. At the same time, the purchase of the lot next door has allowed the current owner to provide lush landscaping and patio space, continuing one of Wright’s values which was bringing the “outside into the home”. His view was to incorporate the home into nature, and the current property accomplishes this beautifully.