Mark your calendars! Just in time for the Halloween season, Pleasant Home Foundation is presenting an awesome program at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. It will be awesome because yours truly will get to blab on to no end about his favorite architect while showing slides of some awesome Gothic architecture. This will occur in one of the finest buildings in Chicago. Does it get any better? Yes it does! There will also be cider and donuts and a walk to the grave site of one of Chicago’s greatest architects!
On Saturday, October 24, Pleasant Home Foundation offers a unique program to explore Joseph Lyman Silsbee’s Horatio N. May Memorial Chapel (1899) and the George W. Maher Family Grave Site. The chapel is almost never opened for guided tours and in my opinion is one of the hidden gems of Chicago architecture. It is a beautifully crafted building with mouth-dropping carved wood detail, glass and marble mosaic and remarkable interior tile and terra cotta.
For folks that don’t know, Silsbee & Maher were Chicago architects that practiced at the turn of the century. Maher worked for J. L. Silsbee in 1887-88 along with Frank Lloyd Wright, George Elmslie; all architects that were instrumental in the development of progressive architecture in the Midwest. No one ever hears much about Silsbee. When they do, the information is usually incomplete or just plain wrong. This is a chance to get some insight into the life of this somewhat elusive figure and to see works never presented before: his monuments, memorials and mortuary chapels. If you are interested in this era of architecture, this is a unique must-see event.
This program will feature a presentation on Silsbee by me. Following, architectural historian and Maher scholar Kathleen Cummings will discuss Maher’s family and their burial place located a short walking distance from the chapel. The one-and-a-half-hour program will feature a rare interior tour of the May Chapel and a visit to the Maher family gravesite.
It will begin at the May Chapel located in Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 N. Ravenswood Avenue and will begin at 1 p.m. Cemetery Parking is available at the chapel or in the cemetery's parking lot located inside of the Ravenswood Avenue entrance. Cost is $15 for the program. Space is limited so registration in advance is strongly suggested at 708-383-2654.
All proceeds benefit the Pleasant Home Foundation. Pleasant Home, a National Historic Landmark, is also known as the John Farson House and is located in the heart of Oak Park, Illinois. Pleasant Home is an architectural treasure designed in 1897 by noted Prairie School architect George W. Maher for investment banker and philanthropist John W. Farson. Pleasant Home Foundation, established as a non-profit organization in 1990, is dedicated to preserving and restoring this 30-room architectural jewel.