Prairie Avenue Historic District


In the late 1800s, Prairie Ave between 16th and 20th Sts is where Chicago's millionaires lived in their mansions. Today the district is good for a stroll. Some of the homes have been preserved as museums, such as Glessner House and Clarke House. Others are intriguing to admire from the outside: William K Kimball House, Joseph G Coleman House and Elbridge G Keith House.

Prairie Ave was millionaire's row until the vice and industry of the nearby Levee District (four blocks west) got too close for comfort. By 1900 the crème de la crème had packed up and moved north to the Gold Coast. The neighborhood endured years of decline until the Chicago Architecture Foundation stepped in to help restore various buildings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chicago attractions

1. Chicago Women's Park

0.02 MILES

This lovely little park in the Prairie Avenue Historic District makes for a nice stroll thanks to its ornamental fountain, manicured gardens and winding…

2. Clarke House Museum

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The Henry B Clarke House is the oldest structure in the city. When Caroline and Henry Clarke built the imposing Greek Revival home in 1836, log cabins…

3. Glessner House Museum

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The 1887 John J Glessner House is the premier survivor of the Prairie Avenue Historic District. Much of the interior is reminiscent of an English manor…

4. Elbridge G Keith House

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This 1870 limestone beauty in the Prairie Avenue Historic District combines classical and French motifs. It's now a private event space.

5. Joseph G Coleman House

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Part of the Prairie Avenue Historic District, the Romanesque 1886 Coleman House now serves as part of the headquarters for the US Soccer Federation.

6. William K Kimball House

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Modeled after a 15th-century French château, the William K Kimball House dates from 1892. It now houses the US Soccer Federation, along with next-door…

7. Battle of Fort Dearborn Park

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The Fort Dearborn battle, in which a group of local Native Americans rebelled against the incursion of white settlers, is thought to have occurred on this…

8. Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven

0.28 MILES

From 1957 to 1967, this humble building was Chess Records, the seminal electric blues label. It's now named for the bassist who wrote most of Chess' hits…