Crafting Your Experience

CAC Open House

The Grand Residences of Frederick R. Schock

Similar to the way Frank Lloyd Wright helped to define the look of Oak Park in the late 19th century, the story of Austin’s emergence as a fashionable residential address connects back to one particular designer: Frederick R. Schock. Born in 1854 in Chicago, Schock apprenticed with architect Henry L. Gay after high school before joining the office of Solon S. Bemen in 1880, where he spent two years working on the development of Pullman on the far South Side. He set up his own firm soon after and designed a variety of houses and small commercial buildings in neighborhoods across the city. Schock came to be most associated with Austin where he designed at least 16 buildings, including the railroad station, the public library and the main social club – symbols of the community’s arrival in the 1880s, all lost today. What survived are several high-quality examples of Schock’s single-family residences, including the architect’s own house along the landscaped boulevard of Midway Park. This short walk explores four Schock-designed houses, all of which are designated City of Chicago landmarks. Be sure to notice the larger than usual lots as you explore the neighborhood, which attracted buyers who intended to surround their dwellings with expanses of land to emphasize their exclusive suburban enclaves. As this is a residential neighborhood, please be respectful of people’s property and keep to the public right-of-way.

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