Oscar M. Steffens House

From HistoryWiki

The Oscar M. Steffens House was located at 7631 Sheridan Road.

The house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

According to Cook County records, the property was purchased by Oscar's wife, Katherine B. Steffens in August 1908. There is no indication why her husband, Oscar M. Steffens was not included on the deed. He was a wealthy business man, and might have left the responsibilities of all aspects of the home in the hands of his capable wife. If she was the one that was responsible for purchasing the property, she may have also been responsible for contacting Wright, or possibly contacting Wright on her husbands behalf.

The Steffens House is a smaller version of Wright's Prairie styled homes and has been compared in design to the earlier Isabel Roberts House (1908) in River Forest. Although the home was built on a ridge about a block from Lake Michigan in the Birchwood neighborhood, Wright faced the home looking West, away from the lake, leaving few windows on the first floor facing the lake. The bedrooms on the second floor were the only rooms that enjoyed a view of the lake.

Wright was most likely contacted either just after the purchase of the property or in early 1909. The home was completed by the end of 1909. Many classic Prairie styled features were part of the Steffens' home. Broad overhangs, shallow hipped roof, central fireplace and rows of second story clerestory windows cement stereotypical prairie features. Like the Walter V. Davidson House (1908), Isabel Roberts House, and Frank J. Baker House (1909) Residences, the Steffens also included a one and a half story Living Room. But unlike the first three homes where the Living Room windows extended to the roofline, the Steffens Living Room windows stopped short and fell in line with the base of the upper clerestory windows.

There are no records to indicate why the Steffens moved from their home after just three years. The home was purchased by Otto Carl Bach in August 1912.

Otto Carl Bach was the first of two brothers to own a Wright home. Emil Bach hired Wright to design his home in 1915.

Louise Bach retained ownership of the house after Otto died]]. Possibly more than a single mother could manage or afford. She rented the home, and for the next thirty years the King's Arms Restaurant abused what was once a beautifully designed Frank Lloyd Wright home. When Louise Bach passed away, the home went to Otto C. Bach, Jr. in December 1960. He continued to rent the property to the restaurant, but when approached by a developer, having no real ties to the house, he sold it to O.W. Howell Enterprises in January 1963.