'Finding Grace' exhibit on the life of social reformer Grace Bagley on display in Hinsdale
Grace Hodges Bagley (1860-1944) was an important social reformer, suffragette, author, and early client of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose life and contributions have largely been forgotten.
"Finding Grace: Rediscovering the Life and Contributions of Social Reformer Grace Bagley, " a new exhibit temporarily located in the summer home of Grace Bagley in Hinsdale, educates and inspires its visitors to learn about Bagley's many significant social reform efforts and her impact on the Chicago area and beyond.
Exhibit co-curator Julia Bachrach explains on her blog (jbachrach.com) that the 1894 Dutch Colonial style house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright when he first established his own firm.
In 2021, when the Bagley House went on the market, preservationists feared it would fall victim to the teardown trend that pervades many of Chicago's western suburbs.
Fortunately, Safina Uberoi, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and her husband, Lukas Ruecker, came to the rescue.
Uberoi and Ruecker, a couple restoring the Wright-designed Tonkens House in Cincinnati, will oversee a historic restoration of the original home, and the design of a respectful modern addition.
They were inspired by Grace Bagley's enormous contributions to childhood education, juvenile justice, housing reform, immigrant rights and women's suffrage, to bring her story back to public consciousness with this exhibition.
Bachrach and co-curator, Jean Follett, prepared landmark nominations for the building.
As a result of their work, the village of Hinsdale officially designated the Bagley House as a local landmark in June 2022.
Visitors to the exhibit will have the rare and brief opportunity to tour this early Wright-designed home at 121 S. County Line Road.
Frank Lloyd Wright came to Chicago in 1887 and received training under two influential architects, Joseph Lyman Silsbee and Louis Sullivan.
Wright went on to produce two of his earliest independent commissions in 1893 - the Winslow House in River Forest and the Bagley House in Hinsdale.
A study in contrasts, the large Winslow House pointed the way to Wright's mature Prairie Style, while the modest and more traditional Bagley House enabled Wright to design an open floor plan with simple connections to the outdoors.
Guests can visit the free exhibit from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 3-17; on Dec. 16, it will close early at noon.
Hours and additional exhibit details can be found at sites.google.com/view/finding-grace.
Volunteer docents will be on site, but the exhibit is self-guided. Plan for approximately one hour to view the exhibit and house.
Parking is available on side streets; do not park on South County Line Road (in front of house). The house is not fully accessible, there are stairs from ground level to the first floor.