Coonley House

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Avery Coonley House
Coonley House is located in Illinois
Coonley House
Location 300 Scottswood Road and 281 Bloomingbank Road, Riverside, Illinois
Coordinates 41°49′13.98″N 87°49′43.03″W / 41.8205500°N 87.8286194°W / 41.8205500; -87.8286194Coordinates: 41°49′13.98″N 87°49′43.03″W / 41.8205500°N 87.8286194°W / 41.8205500; -87.8286194
Built 1907
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Architectural style Prairie School
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 70000243
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 30, 1970[1]
Designated NHL December 30, 1970[2]

The Avery Coonley House, also known as Coonley House, was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Constructed in 1907–08, this is an estate of several buildings built on the banks of the Des Plaines River in Riverside, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It is itself a National Historic Landmark and is included in another National Historic Landmark, the Riverside Historic District.


Avery Coonley was heir to an industrial fortune and had an unlimited budget. The Coonleys had investigated Wright's other homes and told him that they saw in his work "the countenances of principle". Wright stated in his autobiography that "This was to me a great and sincere compliment. So I put my best into the Coonley House." Wright considered the Coonley house among his finest works up to that point. Wright included designs of the Coonley House in his 1907 exhibition at the Chicago Architectural Club. Construction began a year later. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.[2][3]

The lower exterior is tan stucco rising to a ceramic tile banding with art glass windows in a geometric pattern. The U-shaped house surrounds a large courtyard. The courtyard gardens contain terraces, shallow planters and a large reflecting pool. The main living quarters were in the bottom (southern) axis of the U, with a guest wing on the right (east) and servants' quarters and kitchens on the left (west). For the education of the Coonley's young daughter, Wright designed the Coonley Playhouse nearby on Fairbank Road west of Coonley Road. The kindergarten school moved from the Coonley Playhouse to a larger facility in Downers Grove in 1916 and eventually became a full K-8 elementary school. Around 1960, the main buildings on the Coonley estate were divided into separate residences, and the former coach house/garage facing Coonley Road and gardener's cottage facing Scottswood Road were given separate addresses.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Avery Coonley House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b Charles W. Snell (March 5, 1970). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Avery Coonley House (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-27. . Accompanying 7 photos, exterior, from 1970 and undated. PDF (3.31 MB)

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