The Waller Apartments were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1895, though he did not supervise their construction. They were built about the same time as the Francis apartments immediately behind them… also designed by Wright. According to William Allin Storrer’s book “The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion”, each apartment had a single bedroom, parlor, bathroom kitchen and closets. The floor plans varied depending on the proximity to the stairway. Each of the 5 units was identical except for the ones at the end which had side windows. The fourth unit was destroyed by fire in 1968 and demolished at that time. The lot still remains vacant.
Waller Apartments. The light colored brick apartments have been renovated.
The Waller Apartments are in a part of town that has seen better days. As is evident from the photo below, some of the Waller Apartment Units have also seen better days.
Abandoned unit of the Waller Apartments: May, 2003
In 1992-1993, the Landmark Preservation Council of Illinois purchased two of the apartment units from the Department of Housing’s Chicago Abandoned Property Program. From correspondence with a representative of the LPCI, I foudn that the interiors were rehabilitated, the facades were cleaned and restored and they became Chicago Landmarks in 1994. This was the culmination of 8 years of planning and hard work on the part of LPCI and others. They received grants from many sources and added a lot of money from its own funds to complete the renovation.
The homes are now privately owned. They were sold to neighborhood residents through community organizations and real estate brokers.
As can be seen in these photos, another of the units remains derelict and in much need of renovation. The representative from LPCI has informed me that there has been private interest in rehabbing the other units under the governing body of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.
Restoration of the remaining units would be a great addition to this neighborhood. It is starting to come back from years of neglect and these landmarks would help that process.