A 100-YEAR JOURNEY FROM PRIVATE HOME TO PEERLESS TREASURE
In 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a home in what was then a lightly settled lakefront area north of Chicago and south of Evanston, IL — an area now known as Rogers Park. Three years after it was built, a man named Otto Bach purchased the house from its original owners, the Steffens family. Otto’s brother, Emil, admired the house — so much, in fact, that he commissioned his own Wright home to be designed and built nearby. The Emil Bach House was completed in 1915.
The house was situated on the north lot line, which provided southern sun exposure as well as maximum distance and privacy for the Bach family from the existing home to the south.
Working in the brickyard with his four brothers, Emil Bach had breathing problems, which, according to his grandson, Owen, he treated by walking down his back porch to swim in the lake every day. At the time of construction, there were no structures between the house and the lake.
The Farcroft Apartments, built in 1928, tower over the Bach House and completely block the view of the lake from the terrace to the northeast. H.L. Hollister’s mansion on Bryan (later Jarvis St) was demolished around the same time and two four-story courtyard apartment buildings completed the screen of the lake to the southeast.