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updated: 10/5/2013 9:49 PM

Schweikher House in Schaumburg opened for rare tour

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  • This is an exterior view of the north bedroom and studio of the Schweikher House, which was built in 1938 by famed architect Paul Schweikher.

       This is an exterior view of the north bedroom and studio of the Schweikher House, which was built in 1938 by famed architect Paul Schweikher.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Architect and tour guide Jeff Whyte, center, shows the studio to a group that includes Udo Schaefer, right, of Hoffman Estates during a public tour Saturday of the Schweikher House, which is owned by Schaumburg. The home was built in 1938 by architect Paul Schweikher.

       Architect and tour guide Jeff Whyte, center, shows the studio to a group that includes Udo Schaefer, right, of Hoffman Estates during a public tour Saturday of the Schweikher House, which is owned by Schaumburg. The home was built in 1938 by architect Paul Schweikher.
    photos by JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • This is the living room of the Schweikher House, as displayed Saturday during a rare public tour. The home, which was built in 1938 by famed architect Paul Schweikher, is owned by Schaumburg.

       This is the living room of the Schweikher House, as displayed Saturday during a rare public tour. The home, which was built in 1938 by famed architect Paul Schweikher, is owned by Schaumburg.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Standing 6 foot 8, Matt Dumich of Chicago has little headroom in the north bedroom Saturday during a rare public tour of the Schweikher House. Architect Jeff Whyte, left, leads the tour of the home, which was built in 1938 by famed architect Paul Schweikher.

       Standing 6 foot 8, Matt Dumich of Chicago has little headroom in the north bedroom Saturday during a rare public tour of the Schweikher House. Architect Jeff Whyte, left, leads the tour of the home, which was built in 1938 by famed architect Paul Schweikher.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

History and architecture buffs came together in Schaumburg on Saturday for a rare opportunity to tour the Schweikher House, the suburban home that's served as a residence to a noted architect, an atomic bomb physicist and the creator of an iconic piece of modern art.

The village of Schaumburg opened to house up for sold-out public tours Saturday -- just the second time it's ever happened -- as part of U.S. Tour Day organized by Docomomo, an international organization dedicated to saving important buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement. Six groups totaling approximately 70 people toured the house Saturday, according to Todd Wenger, executive director of the Schweikher House Preservation Trust.

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"We've had a strong response, stronger than even last year," said Wenger. "We're happy to be able to show it for only the second time it's been open to the public."

The house at 645 S. Meacham Road was built in 1938 by Modernist architect Robert Paul Schweikher. When Schweikher moved on to teach at the Yale School of Architecture, the house was bought by physicist Alexander Langsdorf, whose work contributed to creation of the atomic bomb, and his professional artist wife, Martyl.

The Langsdorfs both came to regret the use of the atomic bomb and Martyl created the image of the Doomsday Clock for the cover of the June 1947 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The village of Schaumburg bought the house in 1999, but the widowed Martyl Langsdorf was allowed to continue living there for the rest of her life. She died in March at the age of 96.

The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized by The American Institute of Architects as one of the top 150 architectural sites in Illinois.

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