McCormick HouseMies van der Rohe is perhaps best known for designing steel and glass skyscrapers as well as minimalist cantilevered furniture, but there is an important piece of his professional heritage right here in Elmhurst. The McCormick house is one of only three private residences in the U.S. that van der Rohe designed, and it was a prototype for a group of row houses planned for Melrose Park. The development was never constructed, but for years the house was a fixture on Prospect Avenue before being dismantled in 1994 and moved bolt by bolt to the grounds of the Elmhurst Art Museum.

The McCormick House is named after the Robert McCormick family who used it regularly from the time of its construction until 1961. Robert McCormick was a real estate developer who worked with van der Rohe to construct 860-880 Tower on Lake Shore Drive. While watching his plan take shape next to the lake, van der Rohe reportedly wondered aloud about the viability of building a horizontal skyscraper – a row of affordable homes that would tap into the construction principles of his skyscrapers using inexpensive, stock materials.

It turned out that the home was too far ahead of its time, and the modular design never caught on during the post-war building boom of the 1950s. Now, however, marking the 60th anniversary of the McCormick House, the Elmhurst Art Museum is working to highlight the home’s midcentury design as well as the historical impact of this important architectural artifact. Long term plans for the home include restoring it to its original residential state that will allow visitors to experience first hand not only the design itself but also life in the fifties. A documentary by DeStefano Partners, (linked here), narrated by architect Avram Lothan talks about the home, its history and design, and also includes an interview with Robert McCormick.

Elmhurst enjoys the best of both worlds. It’s close enough to an important urban center to benefit from the arts and culture blossoming there, yet it’s firmly rooted in a quiet suburban environment perfectly suited to family life. What’s not to love? When you’re ready to make the move to Elmhurst, the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is here to help. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to your home ownership dreams. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.